Saint Patty’s Day

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Every year on March 17, people all over the world come together to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Many may think of this day as one to wear green and celebrate Irish traditions, but there is a rich history behind this holiday.

Saint Patrick’s Day falls on the anniversary of the death of Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick lived throughout the 5th century and was kidnapped at age 16, where he was taken to Ireland but eventually escaped. Later, he returned to Ireland and introduced Christianity to the Irish people. Legend has it that Saint Patrick used the Irish clover, also known as a shamrock, to explain the Holy Trinity. Each leaf on the clover represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Because Saint Patrick was so meaningful to the people of Ireland, they celebrated every year on the anniversary of his death, now known as Saint Patrick’s Day.

This holiday has been a tradition for over 1,000 years. In Ireland, the people go to church in the morning and then return home for a night of partying and feasting. One meal that the Irish particularly liked was Irish bacon and cabbage. The tradition of dancing, eating, and drinking soon carried over to other countries like America. Today, there are over 100 parades across the country. Two of the most famous parades that take place in the U.S. are in New York and Boston. Some cities go above and beyond with their festiveness, like Chicago, where they dye the Chicago River green.

There are many opportunities to celebrate Irish culture and heritage in our community. Irish Americans have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Philadelphia since their arrival in America. Since 1771, Philadelphia has hosted a parade to celebrate this Irish holiday. This year, the parade was held on March 10, 2019. This parade had over 20,000 participants and even more spectators. Marching bands, dance groups, youth groups, and Irish associations all came together to celebrate a wonderful tradition.

Here in Bucks County, we also find ways to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. For the past five years, our community has hosted The St. Patrick’s Parade & Celtic Fest sponsored by the Pennridge Chamber of Commerce. The parade and celebration took place this year on Saturday, March 16, 2019. The festivities were located on Main Street in Sellersville across from the Sellersville Firehouse. The parade started at 11 a.m., following the Celtic fest from 12-4 p.m. Many came and played Celtic games, watched many local Irish dancers, enjoyed food and beverages from vendors, and danced to live music. There is also a Celtic kids corner for children to learn about and participate in Irish traditions. Along with a soda bread bake-off, community members had the opportunity to join in on a men’s kilt contest!

Throughout the local community, families celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in their own ways. One Pennridge community member said, “I make typical Irish cuisine of corned beef and cabbage. I have a cookbook of Irish favorite recipes.” Many families celebrate Saint Patrick’s day by enjoying the food, whether they are Irish or not. The Shamrock Shake from the local McDonald’s makes for a great Saint Patrick’s Day treat after the long day of fun. Along with the corned beef and cabbage, one might indulge in Irish potatoes, which are considered to be a fine treat in Ireland. Another Irish tradition is to set up leprechaun traps. An Irish community member who has always celebrated St. Patrick’s day said, “I always do a leprechaun trap with my kids.” She also stated that at the parties, “You always do a toast.” The toast is to celebrate the day in unity with family and friends around.

Irish or not, Saint Patrick’s Day brings friends, family, and communities together to eat, drink, and be merry. Don’t miss out on your chance to celebrate this year!