As you may know, people around the world celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17. What you may not know is that Ireland’s Roman Catholics have observed the saint’s day for over 1,000 years, although in a very different form than it is celebrated now. Traditionally, the Irish believers spent the morning in prayer and celebrated with a feast in the afternoon.
These days, the holiday is observed by far more people than just the Irish, and wacky traditions abound! From green drinks to green food to green-lit buildings, green is the color of the day (even though blue was the original color associated with Saint Patrick). Here are some other crazy traditions that have been added over the years:
The city of Chicago started dyeing its river green in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day over 50 years ago. The first time it was done, way too much dye was used and the river stayed green for a week! (http://www.irishcentral.com/culture/travel/top-ten-weird-and-wonderful-facts-about-st-patricks-day-and-the-patron-saint-196474441-237570551.html#)
Japan offers a unique combination of Japanese and Irish cultures with its Saint Patrick’s Day parades and festivities. The parade in Ise is particularly unique since it starts at the Ise Shrines, the most sacred of the Shinto shrines. (https://www.pinterest.com/eiregems/all-japan-paddys-day/)
If you want to see the world’s largest shamrock, head for O’Neill, Nebraska. And, if you really like to wear green, this is the place to live since they wear green on the 17th of every month. (http://news.discovery.com/adventure/travel/st-patricks-traditions-slideshow.htm)
Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day for a whole week in Montserrat with steel drums and creole food. Montserrat recognizes Saint Patrick’s Day as a national holiday because it also marks the date of a slave uprising which eventually led to the abolishment of slavery on the island. (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/unusual-st-patricks-day-celebrations-58807069/?no-ist=&page=1)
Get your exercise and help raise money for local charities by participating in Copenhagen’s (Denmark) three-legged race. Just be careful that your green is green enough; the green police closely patrol the event! (http://cphpost.dk/news/leg-tied-leg-tired-and-legless-the-stuff-of-legends.4635.html)
However you decide to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day this year, may this old Irish blessing be yours:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.