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Searcy, Ark. –
St. Patrick’s Day kicks off a worldwide celebration also known as the Feast of St.
Patrick. On March 17, many will wear green in honor of the Irish and decorate with
shamrocks. According to lore, the wearing of the green tradition dates back to a story written about St. Patrick in 1726. St. Patrick (c. AD
385–461) used the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity and worn green clothing.
And while the story is unlikely to be true, many will revel in the Irish heritage
and eat traditional Irish fare, too.
In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated since before the country
was formed. At times, the holiday has been a bit more of a rowdy one, with green beer,
parades, and talk of leprechauns. However, in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day takes on
a more solemn mood. It wasn’t until events in the United States broadcast in Ireland
that some of the Yankee ways spread across the pond. One Irish American tradition
not common to Ireland is corned beef and cabbage.
SAINT PATRICK’S DAY HISTORY
The Feast of St. Patrick started in the early 17th-century. The day marks the death
of St. Patrick and was chosen as an official Christian feast day and is observed by
the Catholic Church. The day is also a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland,
Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British
Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora
around the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina,
Australia, and New Zealand.
Saint Patrick’s FAQ
Q. How many people in the United States are of Irish descent?A. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 31.5 million Americans claim Irish descent.
That’s a lot of Irish Americans! And that includes those who may be 100% Irish or
less than 15% Irish. A little bit of the Emerald Isle goes a long way.
Q. Can I pinch someone who isn’t wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day?A. The tradition of pinching those who don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day comes
from the belief that wearing green made one invisible to the fairies and leprechauns
spreading mischief on that day. These legendary creatures were known for their pinching.
Those celebrating the day would pinch those who didn’t wear green as a reminder of
what could happen (or to impersonate the leprechauns and fairies). That said if you’re
going to pinch on St. Patrick’s Day, be gentle, or better yet, bring along some green
stickers to place on other revelers as a way of offering protection from those menacing
leprechauns and fairies.
For additional information on horticulture related topics, contact the White County
Extension Service at 501-268-5394 or Sherri Sanders by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution.
By Sherri Sanders County Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Sherri Sanders County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
2400 Old Searcy Landing Road Searcy AR 72143
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to
participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension
office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible
persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national
origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information,
or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity