The History of St. Patrick’s Day

Brooke Hudson, Editor

St. Patrick’s Day is know as the holiday of luck. Every year, on March 17th, big parades happen in big cities. Like the historic St. Patricks Parade in Chicago where thousands of people line the streets and look at Chicago River covered in green dye. Or you put on your green t-shirt so you don’t get pinched. But, did you know there is a lot more history behind St. Patrick’s Day than you think. 

This classic holiday started back in the 5th century honoring Saint Patrick’s death in Ireland. St. Patrick day falls on the Christian season of Lent. During Lent, there are probations on eating meat so many people went out to pubs dancing and drinking. Around the 9th or 10th century, people in Ireland had been observing and celebrating the holiday yearly on March 17th. The first parade celebrated was not held in Ireland but, in New York City in 1762. 

Irish Soldiers serving in the English Military marched around with their music and partied all night long. They also shared this tradition with the English and ended up being celebrated in England too. The next 35 years after, many Irish we’re feeling to the newly found country of the United States for freedom. Then, the holiday spreaded all over the the U.S. 

In 1848, several Irish Aids decided to combine all their parades into one big official parade in New York City. This tradition has carried on since. Now, every year around 3 million people line up on the 1 ½ mile parade route that takes nearly five hours to complete. Several other cities like Boston, Savannah, and Philadelphia do huge parades with thousands of people watching too. In 1845, much of Ireland was in a famine. So millions of Irish fled to the United States. With the religious freedom in America, many Irish continued their traditions. 

With the growing population of Irish in America many politicians used the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day to gain votes among the Irish. With political support many Americans, even more than before started supporting the holiday. Since then, the holiday has turned into finding the leprechaun or wearing green so you don’t get pinched at school!