St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in the United States since the year 1737. Wearing green, marching in parades, and drinking Guinness beer are all common traditions that Americans have deemed appropriate for the spring holiday. While most everyone knows that St. Patrick’s Day celebrates an Irish saint (as it’s in the name), not everyone knows that it’s actually not a holiday that is celebrated in Ireland.
March 17 has been recognized as an important day by Ireland since the early 1600s; however, it has never been deemed a celebratory holiday. Instead of big parades and parties, the Irish have viewed the 17th as a holy day, eating large feasts and spending time as families in order to remember the death of the missionary, St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland.
America began to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in 1737, but there were no major traditions until about 1762, when ironically a group of Redcoats started St. Patrick’s Day stories, the green tradition, and the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade. Americans haven’t ever really lost those traditions, and in fact have added onto them, now using many Irish stereotypes to celebrate (even when many Americans have no Irish descent).
Ireland has never viewed St. Patrick’s Day as anything but a holy day to celebrate their country’s birth into Christianity, but leave it to Americans to practically turn it into a party.