History of St. Patrick’s Day

March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013        Patrick Tally

 

Green beer, festive parades, Irish music and shamrocks painted on smiling faces are all part of the great celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. But the St. Patrick’s Day celebration of the of the 21st Century is a far cry from its holy origins in the 9th Century, says Patrick Tally, a CU-Boulder historian.

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History of St. Patrick’s Day

March 14, 2013        Patrick Tally

Green beer, festive parades, Irish music and shamrocks painted on smiling faces are all part of the great celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. But the St. Patrick’s Day celebration of the of the 21st Century is a far cry from its holy origins in the 9th Century, says Patrick Tally, a CU-Boulder historian.

CUT 1 “St. Patrick’s Day, though it officially became Saint’s Day in the 17th Century, has been celebrated in Ireland as a religious holiday since the 9th or 10th Century (:10)

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland didn’t happen until 1937 and up until the 1970s pubs were ordered closed and meat dishes were not served since March 17 usually fell during Lent. Tally says it took a special church exemption to allow the eating of meat and drinking of alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day.

CUT 2 “Ireland being a very Catholic country, they had to sort of relax the rules because St. Patrick’s Day usually falls during Lent. (:08) In previous centuries, eating of meat was sort of forbidden to Catholics so the ability to eat meat, to drink alcohol, to have a little bit of a celebration, there sort of had to be a dispensation so people could do this.” (:21)

And Tally says The St. Patrick’s Day we know today is really an Irish-American creation.

CUT 3 “It became celebrated in a different fashion largely by Irish-Americans as sort of a assertion of their Irish-American heritage and pride as early as the 18th century. (:13)The first parade was actually held in New York City in 1762. It was held by Irish members of the British Army. (:22) Ever since 1762, there has been a St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York, so it’s the longest running St. Patrick’s Day (02:08:07) parade.”(:29)

By the mid-1800s the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was widespread in America due to the increasing amount of Irish immigrants, says Tally.

CUT 4 “So you have a huge expansion of St. Patrick’s Day spread across the United States as Irish immigrants spread across the United States. Places in the Midwest -- Cleveland, Chicago -- begin holding these as an assertion of Irish-American pride. (:17) And it remained that way through into the 20th Century and then, of course, became much more commercialized -- these sort of little green leprechauns and what not. And it’s become much more less of an Irish holiday and more of a holiday for everybody else” (:34)

And, by the way, if you’re out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day do not make the mistake of calling it “St. Patty’s Day.” That will raise the ire of many an Irishman.

According to paddynotpatty.com, “Paddy is derived from the Irish Pádraig, hence those mysterious, emerald double-Ds. Patty is the diminutive of Patricia, or a burger, and just not something you call a fella. There is not a sinner in Ireland that would refer to a Patrick as “Patty”. It’s as simple as that.”

-CU-

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