Become Irish: St. Patrick’s Day History and Customs

This is a painting of St. Patrick. He worked hard at spreading the word of God and built several churches throughout Ireland. His goal was to have a complete triumph over Paganism. On March 17, 493, he died, and it has now become his feast day. (credit: Getty Images)
St. Patrick
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This is a painting of St. Patrick. He worked hard at spreading the word of God and built several churches throughout Ireland. His goal was to have a complete triumph over Paganism. On March 17, 493, he died, and it has now become his feast day. (credit: Getty Images)
St. Patrick choose a shamrock or a three leaved clover to symbolize the church's Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A four-leaf clover is not a shamrock, but because it is rare to find it symbolizes good luck. (credit: Paul McErlane/Getty Images)
Shamrocks and Four-Leaf Clovers St. Patrick choose a shamrock or a three leaved clover to symbolize the church's Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A four-leaf clover is not a shamrock, but because it is rare to find it symbolizes good luck. (credit: Paul McErlane/Getty Images)
Music is highly associated with St. Patrick's Day and the Irish culture. The Celts had an oral culture that passed down traditions through stories and songs. Irish style music is made with the fiddle, uilleann pipes, tin whistles, and a bodran. (credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
Celtic Music Music is highly associated with St. Patrick's Day and the Irish culture. The Celts had an oral culture that passed down traditions through stories and songs. Irish style music is made with the fiddle, uilleann pipes, tin whistles, and a bodran. (credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
Since the 17th Century, the Claddaugh Ring is a traditional wedding ring for the Irish. The heart symbolizes love. The hands are for friendship. The crown is worn for loyalty. (credit: AP)
Claddaugh Ring Since the 17th Century, the Claddaugh Ring is a traditional wedding ring for the Irish. The heart symbolizes love. The hands are for friendship. The crown is worn for loyalty. (credit: AP)
Restaurants serve a lot of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, but it is only half Irish. Cabbage is a staple in the Irish diet, and it is normally served with Irish bacon. Corned beef became a substitute for Irish immigrants in America who could not afford the bacon. (credit: AP)
Corned Beef and Cabbage Restaurants serve a lot of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, but it is only half Irish. Cabbage is a staple in the Irish diet, and it is normally served with Irish bacon. Corned beef became a substitute for Irish immigrants in America who could not afford the bacon. (credit: AP)
Americans have created their own St. Patrick's Day tradition - drinking large amounts of Irish or green beer. A popular choice to drink is Guinness. (credit: AP)
Green Beer Americans have created their own St. Patrick's Day tradition - drinking large amounts of Irish or green beer. A popular choice to drink is Guinness. (credit: AP)
The leprechaun comes from the Celtic belief in fairies and tiny men. In Celtic folktales, they are known for their trickery to protect their treasure. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film that created an American cheerful and friendly image of the leprechaun which is now associated with St. Partick's Day. (credit: AP)
The Leprechaun The leprechaun comes from the Celtic belief in fairies and tiny men. In Celtic folktales, they are known for their trickery to protect their treasure. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film that created an American cheerful and friendly image of the leprechaun which is now associated with St. Partick's Day. (credit: AP)
Over the years, it has become a custom to wear green on March 17. However, this is mostly a U.S. custom because green is considered unlucky in Ireland. The color green is connected with the old green flag - a time when Ireland was not free. (credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
Wearing Green Over the years, it has become a custom to wear green on March 17. However, this is mostly a U.S. custom because green is considered unlucky in Ireland. The color green is connected with the old green flag - a time when Ireland was not free. (credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
Since 1962, Chicago has dyed its river green. It started out as a way for sewer workers to check for sewer discharges. It has now become a custom to dye the river green on St. Patrick's Day. Other cities and states have picked up on the tradition.(Photo by Frank Polich/Getty Images)
Chicago River Dyed Green Since 1962, Chicago has dyed its river green. It started out as a way for sewer workers to check for sewer discharges. It has now become a custom to dye the river green on St. Patrick's Day. Other cities and states have picked up on the tradition.(Photo by Frank Polich/Getty Images)
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