Good luck, shamrocks and parades are on the minds of many in mid-March. But I bet there are some things you didn’t know about the origins of this holiday.
A bit of history. St. Patrick was known as the Patron Saint of Ireland and the Apostle of Ireland and was a highly regarded bishop and missionary in Ireland near the end of the Roman empire. He was a key player in bringing the Roman Catholic beliefs to Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day was a day of celebration held every year on the day of his death. Interestingly enough, blue was originally the color most often associated with St. Patrick. It wasn’t until a group of Irish Protestants rebelled against the British, and “Wearing the Green” became their theme song, that green became the signature color of the holiday.
Celebration of the modern holiday – complete with green garments and pints of Guinness – began in 1700’s. The holiday spread in popularity to other cities across the US as well as Dublin in Ireland. Now you’ll find St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in countries throughout Europe and as far away as Asia! St. Patrick’s Day is a recognized national holiday in Ireland and has been since 1903.
So where does the expression “the luck of the Irish” come from. There are several theories on this, with the most popular being the “Luck of the Irish” comes from a rather ridiculous stereotype that Irish Americans became successful upon their arrival in America through sheer luck, as opposed to hard work. This could be due in part to their “luck” during the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800’s. To counter this negative sentiment, Irish Americans gradually began using this term to express their pride in their heritage.
There is also a rich Irish history in the metro! One of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades is held each year in downtown Kansas City. The parade has a long history dating all the way back to 1873 when the first parade began as an impromptu celebration of the Irish saint’s feast day at St. Patrick’s Church. Kansas City’s Irish roots date all the way back to the mid-1800s, when immigrants helped develop Westport and Independence.
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