Are you ready for St Patrick’s Day? While Easter is the traditional holiday to celebrate the end of Lent, if you ask anyone Irish, the best holiday in March is St Patrick’s Day.
Previously an Irish specific holiday but now celebrated the world over, it’s is the time and place to honour Irish culture. But there’s more to the day than donning a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt, sending out a St Patrick’s Day card, and chugging a pint of Guinness.
If you want to get involved with the celebration but don’t know where to start, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about how to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, and why we celebrate it to begin with.
When is St. Patrick’s Day?
Wondering when the big day falls? Get your shamrocks ready for March 17th to celebrate all things Irish.
What is St Patrick’s Day?
Before we get into the best places to drink Guinness and the appropriate St Patrick’s Day celebration dress code, it’s important to understand what the day is all about.
At its core, St Patrick’s Day started life on the Emerald Isle as a celebration to honour their patron saint, St Patrick.
There’s a lot of history behind St Patrick, but put succinctly, he was the man responsible for converting the Irish to Christianity and driving the metaphorical snakes out of Ireland. So, naturally, his day is also seen as a religious holiday.
Given all the drinking, parades, and bright green décor, you might be surprised to learn this religious side of the festivities. In the past, shops would shut for the day, and everyone would attend church services as part of the festival.
All of this praying and hymn singing would then be wrapped up with a hearty celebration feast, an added bonus to break up the food restrictions of Lent.
But it’s from the drinking a pint in St Patrick’s honour that the modern-day celebration comes into being. That, and the Irish brought it with them to America. And as we all know, Americans love to party.
Why do we celebrate St Patrick’s Day?
As we mentioned, the historic celebration was to honour St Patrick’s life and religion. While the religious elements are less significant nowadays, the day has lost none of its celebratory traditions – they’ve simply evolved.
To answer why do we celebrate St Patrick’s Day today, it’s to honour and learn about Irish history, cultural traditions, and to welcome the arrival of spring and the end of winter. If you want to celebrate all things Irish, then March 17th is the day to do so.
How is St Patrick’s Day celebrated?
So, now we know a little bit of the history behind St Patrick’s Day, it’s time to get your Shamrocks out and party hard!
Shamrocks, lurid green, and midday parades
Alright, it’s a cliche, but if St Patrick’s Day is all about celebrating all things Irish, then you can’t go wrong with donning a bright green shirt, trousers, or socks. The Ivy Cap, the classic Irish and St Patrick’s hat, is always welcome, especially when jauntily adorned with a shamrock.
You don’t have to be fully kitted out in green attire though, even a cut-out shamrock pinned to your shirt will do. But once you’re ready to go, your first point of call should be wherever the nearest St Patrick’s Day celebration parade is being held.
When it comes to how to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, you can thank the Americans for spicing the occasion up with marching bands, big floats, huge puppets, and ruddy Irish cheer. So, stand back, enjoy the show, and get stuck in with the celebrations.
Grab a Guinness in a local pub
Guinness. A drink as synonymous with Ireland as the humble potato. When the parades are all said and done, and you’re looking to put your feet up, there’s no better way to keep the party going than by heading to your nearest pub to treat yourself to a pint or two of Ireland’s favourite drink.
A mix of malty sweetness, hoppy bitterness, coffee, and even a hint of chocolate, Guinness is the drink of choice for a St Patrick’s Day celebration. So, if you’ve never tried it, head to a traditional Irish pub if you can and grab yourself a pint.
Break out the hair dye, face painting, and arts and crafts
While the majority of St Patrick’s Day celebrations do take place on the streets, if you’re looking for how to celebrate with young ones, then digging out the arts and crafts is a must.
Cut out your own shamrocks, build a little house for the local leprechaun, or help them paint something suitably Irish. Nothing is off the table when it comes to Irish arts and crafts. You could even slip in some baking – maybe some green cupcakes.
And if your kids want to head out and watch the parade, then face painting the Irish flag and shamrocks is always a welcome addition. Even the adults can get in on this, dying their hair or beard to match the occasion.
Go to Ireland and soak in the culture
St Patrick’s Day can be celebrated anywhere, but if you want a suitably authentic celebration experience, then you have to go to Ireland.
Grab a flight or ferry to Dublin, Belfast, Cork, or any Irish city, and immerse yourself in the culture. If you make a holiday of it, you’ll have plenty of time to learn some local history, soak in some Irish music and dance, and maybe even learn some Gaelic in time for the big day festivities.
What to eat on St Patrick’s Day?
Since a huge part of any St Patrick’s Day celebration is to have good, hearty, Irish food, we’d be remised not mention what to eat on St Patrick’s Day.
If you want something traditional, then boiled bacon, potatoes, and traditionally baked Irish soda bread is the way to go. You could also try some corned beef and cabbage or an Irish beef stew for a slight American twist.
For traditional but more obscure dishes, you could cook up some Irish boxty, a delicious Irish potato cake, or a Dublin Coddle, which is sausages, bacon, potatoes, and onions, all layered together and cooked in a broth.
Of course, if you know what to eat on St Patrick’s Day but aren’t in the mood to cook, then just opting for some traditional pub grub is an excellent shout.
So, are you ready to celebrate? We certainly are!
While St Patrick’s Day isn’t usually associated with cards and gift-giving, it can’t hurt to send a thortful message to friends and family to help celebrate the occasion. Pick up a card and gift from our selection to get the party started. And for even more inspiration for other major occasions, check out the thortful blog.