Home > Off the Beaten Beer Path > Why Americans Celebrate St. Paddy

Why Americans Celebrate St. Paddy


I was chatting last week with a British co-worker who recently moved to Philadelphia from England.  He was amused that St Patrick’s Day parades were being held an entire week before the actual holiday. “I’m surprised that people here get so excited about a religious Irish holiday,” he laughed.

I suppose Americans have zapped the religion right out of St. Paddy’s Day.  In fact, I wonder how many celebrators (especially the non-Irish ones) even know who St. Patrick was and what he signifies?  He is a saint after all — the patron saint of Ireland.  He was born British, kidnapped and enslaved in Ireland at 16.  He heard voices (like Joan of Arc) telling him to high tail it out of there, so he escaped, found religion, returned to Ireland and introduced Christianity to its people; and he used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the trinity (father, son and holy ghost).  Somewhere in the mix he supposedly drove all the snakes out of Ireland – no idea where that part came from, but the Irish do enjoy their legends, and a saint should have some sort of super power, don’t you think?

It was the Irish Americans who gave the holiday its first parade…and so the party has spread around the world.  Leave it to Americans to turn a Roman Catholic holiday into a monster drink fest.  I confess, neither the hubster or I are Irish, but today we will wear green, drink green and eat Irish (corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot).  Why?  Because, it’s what we do on St. Patrick’s Day – no religion or irish descent required, and everyone is welcome.  So bottoms up, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Cheers Beers!

  1. March 17, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Ahhh Saint Patrick’s Day! Although I don’t get to celebrate this day properly anymore, ie get stinking drunk and hang out at the local “Irish” Pub anymore, I still have a soft spot for this holiday. Although I used to dismiss it as just another drunkfest, it wasn’t until I attended a couple parades (one in Philly and one in Newport RI) that I really learned to embrace the spirit of St. Patty’s Day. Everyone gets to be Irish for a day. What’s not to live about a but of unity through, food, drink, and celebration? Just stay away from the green beer please!

    Slainte Mhath!

    • March 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Yep, I love the happy festive color and spirit of St. Paddy’s day. I’ve gotta ask though — what’s behind the aversion to green beer?

      Slainte Mhath!

      • March 18, 2012 at 10:11 am

        Hmm… the only green beer that I’ve ever had was a Bud/Miller/Coors with green food coloring. Doesn’t sound very appetizing does it? 🙂

  2. March 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better. Actually, I couldn’t have said it at all. It’s been a long St. Patty’s Day. KIDDING!

  3. March 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

    We American’s do love turning most things into a drinking fest. Hope you had a good one!

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