Where does St. Patrick’s Day Come from?

Chicago River Dyed Green for St. Patrick's Day
Chicago River Dyed Green for St. Patrick's Day

So GirlMoguls – the next big holiday coming up is St. Patrick’s day.  As a budding archaeologist I was curious to know about the origins of the holiday – I mean sure, I’ve eaten corned beef and cabbage, watched a bagpiper and drum marching band and even made a leprechaun catcher before, but I really don’t know anything about the holiday.   So I decided to do a little research.  Turns out St. Patrick’s Day is a centuries old holiday that originated in Ireland, where St. Patrick is the patron saint.  Legend has it that St. Patrick came to Ireland and drove out all the snakes.

For many years, the Irish celebrated the day fairly quietly, going to church in the morning and then eating a traditional dinner of Irish bacon and cabbage.  Since St. Patrick’s day – which is March 17th, usually falls during Lent, a religious period where some people don’t eat meat , St. Patrick’s day was considered an exception to the rule – in other words, you could party a little bit.

St. Patrick’s Day really got its start in America when the Irish  began to  here in large numbers.  At first, the Irish weren’t accepted and had trouble finding jobs and acclimating to their new home.  However, because of a terrrible potato famine in Ireland, more and families emigrated to America in search of a better life.
Soon, the Irish realized that there were quite a lot of them and started to organize – as both a polictial power – meaning they tried to influence politics – and as a cultural force. People were proud to be Irish.  Politicians eagerly tired to court the green vote as it was called.  To celebrate their heritage, many Irish communities began to organize St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and any politician wishing to claim the green vote would attend.   The parades were also fun celebrations.  Today many cities in America have parades – with bagpipers, Irish dancers, people dressed as leprechauns and other symbols of Irish culture.  The largest St. Patricks’ Day parade is in New York City with over 150,000 people participating.

But perhaps the coolest St. Patrick’s Day Tradition – the city of Chicago dies the Chicago River for the day!
What fun St. Patrick’s day things do you do?

GirlMogul Rose
GirlMogul Rose

Posted by GirlMogul Rose


  1. Anonymous says

    “the city of Chicago dies the Chicago River for the day!” I’m pretty sure it should be “Dyes”

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