St. Patty’s Day: For the Irish and the Irish at Heart

St. Pattys Day: For the Irish and the Irish at Heart

Ellen Valerio, Reporter

     St. Patrick’s day, or Lá Fhéile Pádraig in Irish, is an international holiday, on March 17, to celebrate Irish culture. The day was originally a religious feast day that celebrated the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. He was a Christian missionary and one of the world’s most popular saints. To commemorate St. Patrick and to celebrate Irish heritage and culture, festivities such as public parades, drinking Irish beer and whiskey, and a lot of green have become American traditions.

     “When I think of St. Patrick’s day I think of shamrocks and rainbows,” says Tim Snair. Three-leaved shamrock, not to be mistaken with a four-leaved clover is the the symbol most associated withe the holiday.  It is also the symbol of Ireland and was used by Saint Patrick as a metaphor for Christian holy trinity.

   Other symbols like a pot of gold and a leprechaun come from Irish folklore. The leprechaun or in Irish, leipreachán, is depicted as a small, bearded man who is hidden by his pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and he spends his time mending shoes. The mythological creature has come to be one of the famous symbols of St. Patrick’s day through folktales passed down over generations. 

       The traditional green hued parade in Erie, took place on Saturday, March 11. Despite the low temperatures, many attended and enjoyed the Irish celebration.

   Families with Irish heritage commemorate their family roots with traditional Irish cuisine: “My family usually makes some sort of corned beef dish and a potato side dish on Saint Patrick’s day because my mom is Irish,” said senior Elaine Dovensky. The tradition of partaking in a corned beef meal is so strong that many of the Catholic dioceses, including Erie’s, have ordered a dispensation from the church’s law of abstinence on this festive Friday of Lent. What that means to the non-Catholics: Catholics are allowed to eat meat on St. Patty’s.  

  Many families who don’t have Irish in their blood still enjoy the festivities. Adult fun at bars and pubs is another tradition that draws many of the Irish and the Irish at heart out to celebrate Irish culture. Irish or not the festivities welcome all heritages to commemorate the patron saint, Saint Patrick. “My mom’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s day, and we are Irish, so every year we go all out for the holiday,” says junior Morrigan Dougherty.  

Whether you are Irish or just Irish at heart, wear some green and enjoy our extended St. Patrick’s Day holiday!