• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

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History and Symbolism of St. Patrick’s Day

clovers

You know it’s St. Patrick’s Day not only because of the date, 17 March, but also because pubs are open and busy, and people wearing green are drinking beer and listening to Irish music. Now that this amazing festivity is coming up, it’s a great opportunity to learn about the holiday’s symbolism. Let’s dive into the significance and background of each symbol of the holiday and the Irish flag.

What are the St. Patrick’s Day symbols?

St. Patrick’s Day symbols
source: livescience.com

Did you know that the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has religious roots? Saint Patrick, the patron saint and Enlightener of Ireland, is the subject of this Christian holiday. This day is consistently the 17th of March every year. On this day, seven symbols take on big significance. St. Patrick’s Day is associated with several cultural signifiers, including the shamrock, the colour green, leprechauns, parades, corned beef and cabbage, green beer, and the musical instrument harp.

While many of these symbols do have connections to St. Patrick, they are more commonly associated with praising Irish heritage and culture. St. Patrick’s Day is represented by a bright green backdrop with different symbols, including the flag of Ireland, a pint of Guinness, a pot of gold, a pipe, and more. Both the United States and Ireland can claim some degree of responsibility for the origin of St. Patrick’s Day traditions. Irish American immigrants brought in their culture and the holiday has since then expanded.

The Symbolism of the Irish Flag

Man is holding ireland flag in the middle of the crowd
source: bbc.co.uk

The national Ireland flag is proudly displayed during the celebration of this holiday. It’s a tricolour flag which features green, white, and orange and is meant to represent the island’s diverse population and its shared desire for togetherness. This flag is twice as wide as it is high with 1:2 proportions. On 7 March 1848, Thomas Francis Meagher raised the flag for the first time at 33 The Mall, Waterford.

He declared in April of that year that underneath its folds the hands of Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics may clasp in a generous and brave fraternity, as the white in the centre represents a lasting ceasefire between Orange and Green. During the 1916 Easter Rising, it was flown over the General Post Office, and it was officially recognised as the National Ireland Flag by the 1937 Constitution of Ireland.

The Representation of the Colour Green

Five man wear everything green on st. patrick's day on the street
source: history.com

Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is a way to show respect for the Irish and the cultural influence of that colour. In order to avoid getting pinched on St. Patrick’s Day, it is customary to dress in green. Legend has it that if you dress in green, leprechauns won’t be able to see you. Folklore has it that leprechauns will pinch everyone they catch sight of, so do yourself a favour and don some green.

St. Patrick’s Day green can also be found in a variety of other contexts, such as holiday-themed home décor and recipes, beer mugs, and the Chicago River itself, which has been dyed the festive hue since 1962. Historic wearers of the colour green were seen as showing their support for Irish independence. Nowadays, the colour green is widely recognised as a sign of Irish national identity and pride on St. Patrick’s Day so you can celebrate the festivity by waving the beautiful Ireland flag while being all dressed up in green.

The Meaning of the Shamrock

Shamrock
source: housebeautiful.com

Many people associate the four-leaf clover with the shamrock when they think of the Saint. Patrick’s Day symbol. This fortunate plant is sometimes incorrectly identified as a shamrock, despite its name. Though all clovers are related, not all clovers are shamrocks. Clovers can have any number of leaves, while shamrocks only have three.

During the Irish Rebellion of 1798, shamrocks gained significance as a symbol of Irish nationalism. Irish Nationalists wore green uniforms to symbolise their opposition to British rule and the suppression of the Irish language and culture; their sympathisers wore green ribbons and shamrocks on their lapels as a gesture of solidarity.

Saint Patrick, a Christian missionary, arrived in Ireland in the fifth century to convert the locals to Christianity. He made use of the shamrock to explain Christian doctrine. He reinterpreted the shamrock as a symbol of Christianity, believing that its three leaves symbolised the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). An Easter emblem also features the holy trinity. There are a number of Easter bread from different cultures that have a three-strand braided dough to symbolise the Holy Trinity.

How to Celebrate the Irish Way

Bunch of people celebrating St. Patrick's Day
source: diys.com


If you’re organizing a celebration for Saint Patrick this year, start off by taking care of the decoration and make your order of the Ireland flag to hang around, then pair it with some green banners with fun Irish quotes and green tableware with shamrock symbols. Next up, take care of the drinks. You might be thinking about what kind of beer to serve, and while Guinness has become synonymous with Ireland, there are many more excellent beers to choose from, including Harp, Murphy’s, Smithwick’s, and Beamish & Crawford.

Irish whisky is a sure bet if the stars align. If you’re looking for a good Irish whisky, I recommend Jameson, Bushmills, and Tullamore D.E.W. Bailey’s Irish Creme is a delicious addition to your morning coffee if you’re an early riser. As for foods, shepherd’s pie is the best option if you’re craving something Irish. Beef and veggies are the foundation of this speciality, which is finished with mashed potatoes. Colcannon consists of mashed potatoes with a green vegetable, typically cabbage.

Simple, substantial, and not overly sweet, Irish soda bread is a great accompaniment to corned beef and cabbage. This meal may be more American than Irish after all since traditional Irish fare includes bacon and cabbage. In America, however, they found that bacon was out of their price range, so they substituted corned beef. Irish boxty, a potato pancake, and Dublin coddle, a blend of potatoes, onions, sausage, and bacon are also worth mentioning.

Jessie Sanner

Always weighing things, the life of a Libra isn’t easy and that’s something Jessie is well acquainted with as a Libra herself. The confusion with having to choose between things is what helps her write for the blog, in the hope of making it easier for readers who are indecisive themselves. Interested in contrasts, like period dramas and sci-fi, casual and classy outfits, fries and detox shakes, the life of this young lady is anything but boring. Or is it?