One of my favorite holidays is St. Patrick's Day which is coming up on March 17th. To many Americans, St. Patrick's day is a time to drink and maybe kiss an Irishman (if you have the luck of the Irish). However, to me, St. Patrick's day is a little different.
To explain why St. Patrick's day is so important to me, I feel like it's important to talk about the history of the Holiday and its origins.
March 17th is the Roman Catholic feast day for St. Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick wasn't born in Ireland, he was born in what was Roman Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave. He eventually escaped to Gaul (modern-day France) and converted to Christianity, returning to Ireland later in life as a missionary. He became a bishop and established many cathedrals and missionaries in Ireland. It is even rumored that the three leaf clover was used by St. Patrick to describe the Holy Trinity. March 17th is celebrated as his feast day s this was the day that he died.
So, how did this religious day of remembrance become the party holiday that it is today?
In the 18th century, Irish soldiers decided to march along the streets of New York to commemorate their Irish culture and their patron saint. This sparked the soldiers to reconnect with their roots. Then, with Irish immigration increasing over the next century with the Great Potato Famine, this parade became a tradition in the streets of New York. This parade was a symbol of strength among the Irish, who was greatly involved in political machines at the time.
To my family, St. Patrick's Day is a time where we all get together and celebrate where our family came from. My ancestors came from Ireland in the early 20th century to find a better life for themselves and for their children--a typical tale of the American dream. My great-grandfather fought for this country during the second world war and without Immigration, he wouldn't have been able to do that.
For years, my parents would pretend like a leprechaun would break into our house in the middle of the night to leave us a bunch of candy and to decorate the windows with St. Patrick's day stickers. I can remember going to school on St. Patrick's day dressed head to toe in green. I was always the kid who took it upon herself to pinch the kids who weren't wearing green.
Even when I had softball games during high school, I always had a bright green bow.
Every year on St. Patrick's day, a bunch of my family gets together to celebrate. We cook a bunch of food, we dye the milk green, there's always a bunch of candy, and of course, drinking. Yet, before we eat there's always a pray and a silent thank-you to the ones who came before us because, without them, none of us would be who we are today.