Get Your Irish Up: Ten St. Paddy’s Day Traditions

If you need to get your Irish up this St. Patrick’s Day, here are ten St. Paddy’s Day Traditions you can bring into your home whether your heritage is Irish or not:

  1. The wearing of the green: Since elementary school, most of us don some piece of green apparel, or if we’re particularly Irish ALL green apparel, in honor of St. P’s special day.
  2. That nasty pinch! Someone needs to be taken to task for deciding that those who choose not to wear green on the holiday get a pinch. OUCH!
  3. Green is the traditional color of St. Paddy’s day, because the Irish flag used to be green. So to show our Irish heritage, solidarity, or just to avoid that pinch, we wear and decorate with green.
  4. Shamrocks: Saint Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to illustrate a sermon on the Holy Trinity (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and we’ve been using them as a symbol for his Saint Day ever since.
  5. Parades: The very first St. Paddy’s parades were held by the Irish soldiers fighting for the British in the Revolutionary War. Far from home, they celebrated their Irish heritage on the Saint Day of their own Saint Patrick in New Amsterdam, now known as New York City!
  6. Green dye: To celebrate, we pour green dye into beer, eggs, rivers, pools, and darn near any handy remotely liquid substance. The Chicago river may be the largest body of liquid to be dyed green for the holiday!
  7. Leprechauns: Irish folk lore, Irish saint, Irish holiday…it’s not a stretch to see why we associate those little Irish gold-hoarding guys with the holiday.
  8. Corned beef and cabbage: This dish is thought in America to be quintessentially Irish, but the original was actually bacon and cabbage. Corned beef was cheaper in the new world, and easily found in the urban ghettos so full of Jewish and Irish immigrants, so American Irish made the switch.
  9. Irish music: The Irish are a people steeped in oral traditions. Famous for their stories, folklore, and legends, even their music is a part of that oral tradition…keeping the old stories alive, set to music, and sending new stories in the old style, out into the world to entice a new generation to listen to the fiddle, whistle, pipes and drums.
  10. Dance! You can’t celebrate Ireland without music, and you can’t stay still when you listen to it! Irish music makes you want to get up and dance when it’s upbeat and happy, and to sway arm-in arm with your buddies and cry into your Guinness when it’s sad.
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