St. Patrick’s Day; A Little History

By Cheryl Ryan

Are you planning anything for St. Patrick’s Day (pronounced St. Paddy’s day in Ireland)? Drink green beer? Eat corned beef and cabbage? Unlike Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s day is widely celebrated in Ireland. 

I remember breaking into a mini panic attack if I forgot to wear green to school. Some of my fellow students took the pinching thing a bit seriously. The folk story behind wearing green comes from the belief that green was supposed to make you invisible to leprechauns – the small, supernatural creatures that pinched anyone they could see. So the story goes that by wearing green, they couldn’t see you. And then some humans decided to get into the pinching mix. Luckily that’s not a thing at my age and I get to concentrate on different aspects of the holiday.

In Ireland, the holiday was born in religion. St. Patrick is thought to have brought Christianity to the heathens. He famously used a three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The holiday celebrates his death on the 17th of March, 493 AD. 

Things Keep Changing

We, of course, celebrate St. Patricks Day in a far more secular way, namely with food, drink and parties. The traditional food of St. Patrick in the US is eating corned beef and cabbage. But in Ireland, corned beef is not a typical food. Celebrating St. Paddy’s day with corned beef originated from Irish immigrants that learned new cooking techniques from other immigrants while living in New York City. Because they were poor, they needed to get the cheapest cuts of meat and the process of brining, used in preparing corned beef, was used to celebrate St Paddy’s Day. 

If you choose to celebrate with with the food of Irish immigrants, here is an easy recipe. Whole Foods also prepares the brisket and you just need to pick it up and cook it. How great does this St. Paddy’s Day inspired cocktail look? And why not throw in some Irish soda bread for good measure.

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