The True History of St. Patrick’s Day
The annual March 17 celebration known as St. Patrick’s Day started in 1631 when the Catholic Church established a Feast Day honoring St. Patrick. He had been Patron Saint of Ireland who had died around the fifth century, which was 12 centuries before the modern version of the holiday was first viewed.
St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, but he changed his name to Patricius, after he became a priest. It was to remind celebrants what the holiday actually stood for the church first associated a botanical item–customary for all saints–with St. Patrick, assigning him the symbol of the lucky shamrock.
It wasn’t until 1798, the year of the Irish Rebellion, that the color green became officially associated with the day. Up until the rebellion, the color associated with St. Patrick was blue, as it was featured both in the royal court and on ancient Irish flags. Since the British wore red, the Irish chose to wear green, and they sang the song “The Wearing of the Green” during the rebellion, cementing the colors’ relevance.
The seven symbols that correlate to St. Patrick’s Day are shamrocks, the color green, leprechauns, parades, corned beef, cabbage, green beer, and the harp. Some of these symbols tie to St. Patrick directly but most correlate more with celebrating Irish culture and showing Irish pride in general.