The History of St. Patrick’s Day in America


When most people think of St. Patrick’s Day, they think of the holiday that you have to wear green on or you’ll get pinched. Others might think of it as the one day where Irish people celebrate a man named Saint Patrick and they get wasted. However, there is more to this holiday and how some of its traditions came to be. Today, I will share with you the history of St. Patty’s Day in the early years of America.

St. Patrick’s Day started in Ireland in 1631 when a church established a “Feast Day” to honor Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick was a Patron Saint of Ireland who had died around the fifth century, he is known for bringing Christianity to Ireland. The following years were all about parades, green beer, corned beef, and cabbage. The holiday is now celebrated in the form of parades, parties, and festivals on every continent on March 17th.

The first recorded celebration of St. Patty’s Day in America was in Boston in 1737 when a group of Irish men got together and celebrated over dinner to what they referred to as “the Irish Saint” (Saint Patrick). The tradition of parading on St. Patrick’s Day began amongst Irish Catholics of the British Army in New York in 1766 when the day of Saint Patrick was ushered in with Flutes and Drums.

The tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day grew across the U.S. and became a day that was also celebrated by people with no Irish heritage. By the 20th century, it was so ubiquitous that St. Patrick’s Day became a marketing bonanza: greetings cards filled drugstores, imported Irish shamrocks showed up on T-shirts, and the food and drink that became associated with the day became bar promotions. This is how the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day came to be, both in Ireland and in America.