St Patrick's DayAmericans have a long tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day each March 17th with  plenty of green beer and pinches to go around. But where did these traditions come from? Did our Irish ancestors bring them to America when they immigrated? Or are these customs purely Americanized visions of an Irish holiday? Surprisingly, the latter is true. Most St. Patrick’s Day customs that we are familiar with today have no roots in Ireland at all.

The Pinch and The Wearing of The Greens

The custom of pinching those not wearing the customary green on St. Patrick’s Day was invented by school children in America, not dear old Erin. In fact, green isn’t even a popular color in Ireland as it is the color of the former flag, representing a time when Ireland was not a free nation. However, green coincides with Spring, which generally begins around St. Patrick’s Day “ all reasons for the color green to be a popular choice for the holiday.

Let Them Eat Corned Beef and Irish Stew

Irish Stew and Corned Beef with cabbage will be popular dishes on American tables this St. Patrick’s Day, but they aren’t really true to their roots. Traditional Irish meals would consist of some sort of ham, such as bacon and cabbage “ not beef.

Put It On My Tab

Many gallons of green beer will flow through American bars full of the Irish spirit this St. Patrick’s Day, but St. Patrick’s Day started as a religious holiday. Until the 1970s, the Irish governments ruled that no pubs could open on March 17th. Therefore….no beer, dear.

green beerClover and Clover…Over and Over

Contrary to popular belief, a four leaf clover has no ties to St. Patrick and it’s not the proverbial Irish shamrock. St. Patrick demonstrated The Doctrine of The Trinity using a three, not four leaf clover. A three leaf clover is the only true Irish Shamrock as the four leafed variety predates Christianity by a fair many years.

Sorry To Rain On Your Parade

But the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Ireland, but in the good old US of A. Irish soldiers serving under the British flag marched through the streets of New York City on March 17th, 1762.

St. Patrick Wasn’t Patrick….or Irish

St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in either Scotland or Roman England. He was kidnapped from Wales as a teenager and sold into slavery in Ireland, where he spent the next six years until his eventual escape to Britain and then France. Upon arriving in France he joined a monastery. He died on March 17th,  461 AD. This day was designated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since.