Many popular holidays in the USA have origins in other countries, because Americans come from heritages across the world. One of the most fun and festive of these holidays is St. Patty’s Day, an Irish celebration on the feast day of the country’s patron saint. You can wear green, drink green beverages and dance an Irish jig with your American friends when you’re learning English in the USA!
History of Saint Patrick’s Day
The legend goes that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. This is likely a metaphor for the conversion of pagans to Christianity, because in fact, there were never any snakes in Ireland. But either way, the holiday is celebrated on St. Patrick’s Feast Day, March 17, across Ireland and around the world. And with many of the most exciting festivities taking place in the United States, you can participate in all the fun when you learn English in the USA!
American St. Patty’s Day Traditions
• Green Garb (Clothing): Green has been associated with Ireland for centuries, and with the holiday since at least the 1680s. One of the clearest signs that the holiday has arrived in the US is the amount of green everywhere! Join in the festivities when you study English in the USA, and wear your best green! (If you don’t, you just may get pinched by a leprechaun!)
• Patty’s Parades: The tradition of parades actually began in the USA, after many Irish immigrants came to America during the Great Potato Famine. The first recorded parade was in 1762 in New York City, which has today become the largest and longest St. Patty’s Parade in the world, with over 3 million spectators. Most major cities now host a parade and some even color their rivers green! You can catch a parade near you, when you learn English in the USA!
• Corned Beef and Cabbage: The traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage is served at restaurants and in homes across the country on March 17 each year. Beer is a popular holiday beverage (and is often tinted green), because traditionally the feast day allowed Christians to eat meat and drink alcohol during the Lenten season when these were prohibited. You can really get into the spirit and try some delicious corned beef while learning English in the USA!