St. Patrick's Day may be an Irish holiday, but these traditions originated in America

Shaun Goodwin, The Idaho Statesman on

Published in Entertaining

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by millions of people in the United States every year, with people seeing the yearly celebration as a pot of gold for drinking, celebrating and socializing, all while decked out in green.

While St. Patrick's Day, celebrated on March 17 every year on the anniversary of the saint's death, is of major importance to the Irish community, many of the traditions celebrated both in America and worldwide hold little basis in Irish culture.

For many traditions, the green of St. Patrick's Day has been painted over with a heavy dose of red, white and blue.

St. Patty's Day or St. Paddy's Day?

The term "St. Patty's Day" has become a commonly used colloquialism in the United States for St. Patrick's Day. The shortening of the name most likely came from the nickname "Patty," according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, but it's a name that is technically incorrect in Irish culture.

In Ireland, the name Patty is short for Patricia, while the name Patrick is the anglicized form of the name Pádraig. St. Pádraig was born in Britain before being taken to Ireland as a prisoner and ultimately introduced Christianity to Ireland, earning him the honor of Ireland's most prominent patron saint.


That means technically the name of the holiday is St. Pádraig's Day, and in turn, St. Paddy's day.

Drinking on St. Patrick's Day originated in America

St. Patrick's Day is the third-heaviest drinking day in America, according to a survey of over 1,000 people conducted by alcohol.org.

But drinking was never a part of the original holiday in Ireland. In fact, it was Irish emigrants to the United States that first incorporated revelry into proceedings, celebrating their Irish culture together despite being so far from home.


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