Five St. Patrick’s Day Traditions

According to the United States Census Bureau, as of 2021, approximately 31.5 million Americans claim Irish ancestry. So it is no wonder St. Patrick’s day is a big deal every year here in the U.S. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best St. Patty’s Day traditions nationwide in case you want to participate in the festivities!

Drowning the Shamrocks

On St. Patrick’s Day, we often see people wearing and decorating with shamrocks, but there is also a tradition known as “drowning the shamrock,” which is considered to be good luck. According to folklore, St. Patrick went to a bar and got a glass of whiskey that was mostly empty. He told the bartender the devil comes for the dishonest. Nowadays, the tradition is to dunk a shamrock into your final glass of whiskey of the day and toast St. Patrick for this interaction.

Eating Corned Beef and Cabbage

When Irish ancestors came to the U.S., they found that beef was more readily available here than in Ireland. Corned beef was the most affordable, making corned beef and cabbage a popular meal for Irish Americans. Eating ham or bacon and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day is also a great way to celebrate with a traditional Irish dish.

Wearing Green

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations appear to have been invented by Americans to honor their Irish heritage. The story goes that you are supposed to wear green on this day to be invisible to leprechauns – or else you will get pinched. Although the original color for St. Patrick’s day was blue, it has evolved to green. After all, the Irish flag has green in it, Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, and shamrocks are green.

Greening of Rivers

Throughout the United States, different cities dye their rivers green in honor of St. Patrick’s day. The Chicago River is most famously known for this tradition, which started in 1961. Rivers are also dyed green in Savannah, Charlotte, San Antonio, Washington D.C., and several other cities if you want to plan a trip to see them.

Hiding Leprechauns

One tradition that is targeted toward children on St. Patrick’s day is hidden leprechauns. These mythological creatures from Irish lore are known for being naughty tricksters. Staging leprechaun visits are a fun way to include children in the festivities. Some other ideas for setting up these “visits” are to dye food ingredients green, putting green footprints on your toilet or messy or writing in green removable markers on mirrors.

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