This year St Patrick’s Day falls on Saturday 17th March, and it marks the death of Ireland’s patron saint, St Patrick. The event originally started as a religious feast day back in the seventeenth century, but it has since evolved into a global occasion, with events, parades, dancing, music and special food all being rolled out to celebrate Irish culture.
The phrase ‘luck of the Irish’ is one of the most well known in the English language, but did you know where it comes from? Many people assume it refers to excellent good fortune, but historians believe that it actually relates to the mining gold rush in the late nineteenth century. At the time, the best miners were either from Ireland or Irish-American. Over time, this recognition that Irish were having the best fortune in silver and gold mining led to the expression we know today.
Many Irish people carry good luck charms to help welcome good fortune into their lives, and perhaps the best known is the shamrock. Many homes will have a shamrock, and people carry images of them in their purses or on their person. The Irish colour green is also considered to be an indicator and welcoming symbol of luck, which is why the annual St Patrick’s Day parades will be festooned in bright green! Don’t forget a horseshoe in your home either – it has been viewed as a good luck symbol in Western folk mythology for centuries.
But how will you celebrate the occasion yourself? It’s fair to say that a large proportion of visitors to the world’s St Patrick Day parades aren’t actually Irish themselves – although most will claim some distant genetic connection! But the country’s people are known for their friendly natures and love of the ‘craic’, so everyone is welcome – especially if they love music, dancing and a pint of Guinness.
Why not head to your city’s local parade, visit your local Irish pub (there’s one in every city) or host an St Patrick’s Day party at home? Serve bacon and cabbage, bangers and mash, boxty pancakes and champ. Steak and Guinness pie is always worth eating, and if you’re celebrating with a brunch, then a full Irish looks very much like a full English breakfast – perhaps with some soda farls and delicious Irish bacon.
Stocking Up for the Big Day
- Find authentic Irish bacon online at Ocado.
- Stock up with the essential Guinness from Sainsbury.
- Marks and Spencer have a range of St Patrick’s Day cards which are perfect to send to your Irish friends & family.
- Don’t forget your Shamrock green t-shirt either! You’ll find a great range online at Tesco.