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Go Green for St. Patrick's Day

Updated on February 11, 2014
Go green for St. Patrick's Day this year!
Go green for St. Patrick's Day this year! | Source

Celebrate the Irish Saint with Lots and Lots of Green!

In the United States, we celebrate St. Patrick by wearing green and decorating with green every year. There will be parades to enjoy, (green) beer to drink, and all kinds of things to celebrate and enjoy this March 17th, so get ready to enjoy some of the best green around!

Whether you plan on getting dressed up for St. Patrick's Day this year or if you'd rather stay at home and have a party with your friends, get ready, because there's a lot of fun to be had! May the Luck O' the Irish be with you!

Shamrocks
Shamrocks | Source

Why is St. Patrick's Day Associated with Green?

Everyone knows that St. Patrick's Day is associated with the color green. People dress up in green clothing, drink green beer, and plant green shamrocks. Green is everywhere on March 17th.

The question, of course, is why is St. Patrick's Day associated with the color green?

First of all, St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. Ireland is a very green country with rolling hills and gorgeous countryside. For this reason, Ireland is associated with green, and because St. Patrick (who was himself English) is associated with Ireland. Therefore his feast day has come to be associated with green.

The second reason that St. Patrick's Day is associated with the color green is the shamrocks. As you will see, there are shamrocks all over this page. But what do they mean? Shamrocks represent the Holy Trinity, and St. Patrick used them as a way of illustrating the mystery of the trinity.

Since shamrocks are green, we associate St. Patrick and his feast day with the color green.

Wild Irish Shamrocks
Wild Irish Shamrocks | Source

How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

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How is St. Patrick's Day Celebrated?

St. Patrick's Day and its celebration is primarily an American tradition (which may come as a surprise to many Americans). The parades and surrounding ourselves with green comes from cities in which there are large groups of Irish Americans (such as Boston, Cleveland and Chicago).

Having grown up in Cleveland (with its large Irish population), I've seen quite a bit of St. Patrick's Day celebration. The feast is celebrated in several ways in these major cities, including the following:

  • Parades
  • Parties
  • Wearing Green
  • Attending Mass

This article focuses on the "going green" part of St. Patrick's Day, though there will be plenty more to come in the future to help you decide how to celebrate yourself!

Cluster of Shamrocks
Cluster of Shamrocks | Source
Oxalis Regnellii (Lucky Shamrock) - 20 Robust Bulbs - 3/4" Tubers
Oxalis Regnellii (Lucky Shamrock) - 20 Robust Bulbs - 3/4" Tubers

Please do note that these shamrocks grow out exactly as they are pictured in the photo. Shamrocks have three (not four) leaves. If you're looking for "lucky four leafed clovers," these aren't going to be the right plant for you!

 

Go Green by Planting Some Shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to his disciples. For this reason, the Shamrock shape is associated with St. Patrick and St. Patrick's Day.

If you're looking for a way to spread the green for this March holiday, what better way than to plant some shamrocks? They tend to do very well in containers indoors, and bloom with white flowers.

You may choose to purchase one of a few varieties of shamrocks, but the green variety is what this page focuses on, so try the green! You can also get them in purple and pink (leaves).

Note that these shamrocks always have three leaves and that four leaved clovers are unusual and are in no way associated with St. Patrick.

Green Beer for St. Patrick's Day
Green Beer for St. Patrick's Day | Source

Go Green with Colored Beer for St. Patrick's Day

Beer can be colored green for St. Patrick's Day! If you're looking for something with a lower alcohol content (or not alcohol at all) you may wish to try making your own ginger beer at home.

Green beer is easy enough to get at pubs on St. Patrick's Day, but if you want to serve it at home, it's quite a simple process: Drop a few drops of green food coloring into the bottom of your glass and then pour the beer over the top of them.

This will result in the colored beer that is popular on St. Patrick's Day, and it shouldn't need to be stirred (as illustrated in the image to the right) due to the fact that the bubbles should bring the color to the top.

St. Patrick's Day Cupcake
St. Patrick's Day Cupcake | Source

Go Green by Baking for St. Patrick's Day!

Baking is a ton of fun for any holiday, and you can bake up a nice cake for the holiday in one of several ways.

  • Make a white cake and color it (and the frosting) green. This is probably the simplest way to "go green for St. Patrick's Day" by baking. It's relatively simple to mix up a white cake with green food coloring and then frost it with a green icing. Maybe even try mint icing on your cake! You can add shamrock sprinkles to the top for added St. Patrick's Day effect.
  • Make a shamrock-shaped green cake (as above). Color your cake as illustrated above and use a heart-shaped pan to bake three cakes. Configure them into a shamrock shape before serving! Make sure to ice them in green icing the same as with the green cake suggested above!
  • Bake shamrock-shaped sugar cookies for St. Patrick's Day. An Amazon link to some shamrock-shaped cookie cutters is provided to the right so that you can purchase them for yourself, along with a link to a sugar cookie recipe. Ice these in green (or dye them green) and sprinkle with shamrock sprinkles!
  • Bake shamrock-shaped cupcakes. The mold is available from Amazon (you can purchase it to the right) to make shamrock shaped cupcakes at home. Make them out of white cake batter and color them green, or ice them with green icing!

Go Green by Wearing Green for St. Patrick's Day

It's traditional, where St. Patrick's Day is celebrated, to wear green for St. Patrick's Day. So go on and get yourself that green sweater, or wear the Irish flag as a hat or leg warmers. Everybody will notice your Irish pride!

You should be able to find a variety of clothing for St. Patrick's Day, and you may even wish to dress up for St. Patrick's Day by wearing a Leprechaun Costume. Deck yourself out in green from head to toe to celebrate Ireland and St. Patrick, wherever you live in the world!

Dyeing the Chicago River Green

For more than forty years, the Chicago River has been dyed every year for St. Patrick's Day. You can see an example from 2011 in the video to the right.

This is an extreme example of a city "going green for St. Patrick's Day" but it's a great one, too! You can check out the website for the endeavor here, where you can support the sponsors for the dyeing of the river (which is growing increasingly more expensive every year).

© 2014 Becki Rizzuti

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    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 3 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Great Hub!