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Happy St Patrick’s Day! What’s it Mean, Anyway?

st patricks day

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

March 17, the day the patron saint of Ireland died, commemorates St Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

So, who is this Saint Patrick guy, exactly?

Like many Americans, I grew up celebrating this festive holiday alongside the large U.S. Irish diaspora, not knowing much about the historical significance of Saint Patrick.

What you may not realize (and I actually first discovered on my friend’s site The Fairytale Traveler) is that Saint Patrick was British not Irish. Born to a wealthy Romano-British family, he was kidnapped at 16 and taken to Gaelic Ireland, where he was a slave for six years. During this stint of servitude, he found God, and God told him to escape to the coast where a ship would be waiting to take him home. Once back on the main British Isle, he became a priest. His grandfather was already a priest and father a deacon in the Christian church.

He then returned to the land that held him captive and where he found God to convert those pagan Irish heathens to Christianity. He spent many years evangelizing the northern half of Ireland, converting thousands to Christianity. He supposedly used the abundant three leaf clover or shamrock to explain the holy trinity to his captive audience.

Irish Food

Green became associated with Ireland after the Irish Confederates flew a green harp flag in 1640.

Saint Patrick’s DAY

The day was made an official Christian feast day in the 17th century. The Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking (remember, we kicked off Lent with Mardi Gras) were lifted on this day, which has propagated the tradition of heavy beer and Jameson drinking, apparently.

Paddys day

It’s a public (i.e. government) holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Montserrat. The government hasn’t yet mandated that we take paid vacation on March 17 in the U.S., but the holiday is still joyously celebrated by the Irish diaspora (and all those who stand by them) here, as well as Britain, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia. My Irish friend had a big St. Paddy’s Day celebration in Australia last year (check out that convo and photos). Oh, and she corrected me; it’s not St. Patty’s Day, it’s St. Paddy‘s Day.

Baton Rouge St. Paddy’s Day

Like I said, growing up, we always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, but I never really knew the history behind it. Yesterday, I went to what was probably my tenth Baton Rouge St. Patrick’s Day parade (just a guess), and this year, I knew a little more about the origins of this celebration.

I’m glad I did a little research. Here are some highlights from the parade…

Paddys day Paddys day Paddys day Paddys day St Patrick's Day Parade-3 St Patrick's Day Parade-4 St Patrick's Day Parade-5-2 Paddys day St Patrick's Day Parade-6 Paddys day St Patrick's Day Parade-7 St Patrick's Day Parade-8-2 St Patrick's Day Parade-8 St Patrick's Day Parade-9 St Patrick's Day Parade-11 Paddys day St Patrick's Day Parade-13 St Patrick's Day Parade-14 St Patrick's Day Parade-15 St Patrick's Day Parade-16 St Patrick's Day Parade-17 St Patrick's Day Parade-18 Paddys day St Patrick's Day Parade-21 St Patrick's Day Parade-22 St Patrick's Day Parade-23 St Patrick's Day Parade-25 St Patrick's Day Parade-26 St Patrick's Day Parade-27 St Patrick's Day Parade-30 St Patrick's Day Parade-31 Paddys day St Patrick's Day Parade-36 Paddys day St Patrick's Day Parade-43 St Patrick's Day Parade-44 St Patrick's Day Parade-45 Paddys day

Check out what some other bloggers are writing about Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day!!

The Wandering Educators compiled an amazing, all-inclusive list of everything Ireland, both entire websites and blog posts by category.

Bret and Mary of Green Global Travel posted some amazing Irish recipes for St. Patrick’s Day, including shepherd’s pie and Guinness BBQ burger!

Nick shares his crazy tale of Team America in Dublin, where it’s all about Guinness, parades and….a green Liffey River?

Read all about Ireland’s best eats, including….chocolate marshmallow and berry pizza from Travel With Bender.

Billie and Steve relive their Ireland travel memories for St. Patrick’s Day.

I’ve also written lots of posts about Ireland:

From Connemara’s land of bogs, to Dublin’s pub scene (and the smallest pub in the city)…. from the striking Cliffs of Moher  and the Dunguaire Castle to the famous Ring of Kerry…. from Killarney National Park to touring the Guinness Storehouse….It’s all there!

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Are you wearing your green?

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5 Responses to Happy St Patrick’s Day! What’s it Mean, Anyway?

  1. Mike Orobona March 17, 2014 at 7:30 AM #


    The first thing that popped out at me amidst the sea of green in your photos was the price of “plus unleaded” at the gas station on the fifth photo. Year from now, folks will look at this post and say “remember when…” Happy St. Patrick’s day.

    • Lindsay March 17, 2014 at 9:29 AM #

      That’s true, Mike! I was a little annoyed that the gas station signs were dominating my photos, but it is good to have the point of reference I guess;-) Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

  2. Akwaaba GoldenTours March 17, 2014 at 7:19 PM #

    I lived a bit over a year in Ireland and attended a parade on St Patrick’s Day there, very enjoyable! 🙂 I even got my hair dyed green! 😀

    • Lindsay March 21, 2014 at 7:54 AM #

      Cool! Maybe I’ll die my hair green next year. I would love to check out the parade and festivities in Dublin one year!


  1. Throwback Thursday- The French Riviera, Now and Then - The Traveluster - March 20, 2014

    […] I’ve been in my hometown of Baton Rouge for the past week, after driving nine hours from Nashville. I came home for my baby shower (which was lovely) and was also able to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day at our annual parade. […]

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