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History of Saint Patrick's Day

As far as the eye can see is a sea of green shades -- neon, evergreen, lime, hunter -- on the backs of every college student blasting music to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, also known as Saint Fratties Day at Cal Poly.  

In all its Irish heritage, Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday associated with drinking, partying, luck, and leprechauns -- especially amongst college students. Still, have you ever wondered why we wear green, or why we all binge party? We asked ourselves these questions and decided to give you a background on the customs of Saint Patrick’s Day.

Historically, Saint Patrick’s Day is based on the patron Saint Patrick of Ireland -- duh. It is in celebration of his death, on March 17th, that we have turned Saint Patrick into a legend himself. 

Saint Patrick brought the shamrock symbol which is associated with the holy trinity, alongside the original festive color -- blue! However, in the United States we have exchanged the religious significance of Saint Patrick’s Day for a secular celebration of the Irish ethnicity, and the color green. 

In 1762, New York City was the first location to host an Irish day parade. Originally, the Irish simply celebrated with feasting and dancing. Furthermore, in 1962, Chicago was the first city to color its river green in honor of the holiday; therefore, low and behold, the green tradition was born. Much of the “wearing of the green” is now in commemoration of tourist tradition, and cultural norms rather than any significance to the original holiday.

The drinking tradition associated with Saint Patrick’s Day arose from the halting of Lent on March 17th, so Christians were able to participate in festivities. Now, the overabundance of food and alcohol is commonplace, especially on college campuses!

All in all, the Saint Patrick’s Day traditions we all know and love have stemmed from a cultural appreciation of the Irish -- with an American twist that incorporates an abundance of food and alcohol!. Nevertheless, we hope you enjoy all the festivities this Saint Patrick’s Day! The Lalawine With Friends