A beginner’s guide to Saint Patrick’s Day

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Candee Bell / Staff Illustration

Four popular ways to celebrate the holiday

March is back after eleven months of anticipation. While March Madness is a quite a sight to behold,  people will still get excited when they start seeing their peers all decked out in green gear, dashing from one person to another to pinch them. As Americans are having “the Craic” (Irish slang for fun) of their life bar hopping and picking up shamrocks, it is important to take a look at what the celebration is all about.

Spot Saint Patrick

The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in the heart of New York in 1762, not Ireland, according to History.com. Since then the parade has become a staple for the holiday and happens every year in big cities and small towns alike. Americans often find themselves cheering with the crowd on Saint Patty’s Day to the floats and representations of Saint Patrick himself.  Seattle is hosting the annual parade on March 16 this year, and will feature pirates, bagpipers, Irish dancers and many more.

Pinch people

We all know that we should wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day to avoid being pinched. But it begs the question: Why? The site Thrillist.com shared that the reason why people wear green on this special day is because it is one of the many ways people show their Irish pride. Maddy Shenton, a Pierce college student of Irish descent, jokingly shared that one of her traditions is to punch a person who is not drowned  in green. While there are many debatable origins for wearing green, the color helps people get into the holiday spirit and pinching just adds to the fun of it regardless. Another Pierce Irish descendant by the name of Michael Forbes shared that he likes to dress up as a leprechaun and sing Saint Patty's cheer with the kids in his neighborhood.

Find four-leafed clovers

The color green that is often associated with the holiday is believed to have originated from the color of the clover leaf. The lore of Saint Patrick’s tells the story of the Saint himself explaining the Holy Trinity with a three leaf clover. History Professor Christopher Vanneson pointed out that the story is not supported by facts. But because of the legend, the image of the plant has become the most iconic symbol of the celebration. And with the green hue, it does nothing but go wonderfully well with the holiday theme. With chances of finding a four-leaf clover being 1 to 10,000, according to The Science Explorer, one can try their luck to find these rare plants.

Eat corned beef

No Saint Patrick’s Day dinner table is complete without the sight of corned beef and cabbage. Contrary to popular belief, corned beef is not actually an Irish food. According to Delish.com, when the Irish immigrants first arrived in America, they yearned for the comfort food of their motherland, which was bacon. The problem was that the price of pork was relatively expensive, so they turned to beef brisket as an alternative. They added salt to help preserve the meat, and thus corned beef was introduced. While it is strange that corned beef is not Irish in the first place, there is no denying that it brings an Irish taste to the table.


Everyone should try to have some fun on this day, whether it be picking out some green attire or indulging in some corned beef. Be safe while you’re at it, and with that said, happy Saint Patty's day!