The Best St. Patrick’s Day Traditions

Nico Marvin, Sport's Editor

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

St. Patrick’s day, a time where masses of people don green, load up on potatoes, and meet up to celebrate the Irish. The holiday, originally a time of observance for the passing of the Catholic patron saint of the Emerald Isle, has shifted gears to more secular traditions. These traditions are practiced worldwide, but the United States takes victory in the sheer volume of events.

With more people living in the United States of Irish descent than in Ireland, it is no surprise that Woodson is home to staff hailing from Ireland . “From the time I was very little [I was at] every Alexandria and DC St. Patrick’s day parade my whole life,” said English teacher Ms. Ann Marie Rodgerson. 

The traditional food enjoyed around the globe for St. Patrick’s day is “corned beef and cabbage,” said Rodgerson. “However I have been to Ireland many times, and not once has anyone offered me corned beef.” Corned beef is more of an American tradition, dating back to the early 1900’s. The meal was eaten by poor Irish immigrants in New York, and over time morphed into a staple of American’s view of Irish cuisine. A more local delicacy closer aligned to Ireland, would be “shepherd’s pie, Irish sausage,.. or soda bread,” explained Rodgerson. 

Up north in the Windy City, one of the most colorful traditions takes place. The Chicago River, which runs straight through the city, is dyed an Irish green. The event dates back to 1962, when a business manager for the city saw a local plumber with emerald green-stained overalls. 

New York City also changes colors on March 17, from apple red to emerald green. On this day 150,000 performers take position to march down the streets in front of over 2 million spectators. This parade is the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s day parade in the world.

This time also may spike curiosity for others wondering about their heritage or the past. Mr. Annear, an English teacher of Irish ancestry, is looking to learn more about his Irish heritage. 23andMe and the Ancestry Corporation are both companies that help customers learn more about their roots.  

This year, because of the pandemic, DC’s St. Patrick’s day parade has been postponed to be more of a halfway to St. Patrick’s day event. But a great way to get involved in the day according to Ms. Rodgerson would be to “find a ceili. Which is like a big social dance where people get together, and do dances that would be similar to square dancing.”