St. Patrick’s Day rooted in history, tradition

It’s the day where most of America wears green and takes in a meal of corned beef and cabbage. Yes, St. Patrick’s Day has its deep-rooted American traditions to honor an Irish saint. Although, some would be surprised to know that the original meal didn’t even center on the salt-laden protein and cheap, plain-flavored vegetable in Ireland.

Here are a few things to know about March 17.

The man behind the day

According to many accounts, St. Patrick, of British descent, arrived in Ireland after being captured by a team of Irish raiders who robbed his parents’ estate. He spent six years as a prisoner before breaking free from his captors and returning to Ireland. He later returned to Ireland as a Catholic missionary and used Irish culture to bring in locals to the church. For more information, visit The History Channel’s website.

How the traditions grew

As Irish immigrants crossed the Atlantic to the United States, they brought their heritage with them. Unfortunately, for many, Irish bacon cost too much for citizens to purchase in the states, so they settled for beef. According to, they settled for brisket, which they then brined with corn-sized salt crystals and served with cabbage, which was a cheap vegetable to purchase.

Modern-day St. Patrick’s Day traditions

Chicago and New York take their St. Patrick’s Day traditions to a whole other level. Chicago dyes its river green and New York hosts a parade with marchers, no floats or vehicles included. In addition, St. Patrick’s cathedral hosts a mass on the day of the patron saint, and, as seen in a 2008 YouTube video, plays the Irish and American national anthems at the end of the mass, something that isn’t traditionally done in a Catholic Mass.

For more information on St. Patrick’s Day visit these websites: