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Saint Patrick's Day: Make Your Own Green Beer, History, Shamrocks, Leprechauns and More

Updated on September 6, 2016
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Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts and culture and sharing that knowledge.

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History

St. Patrick was not born in Ireland, but was originally from Britain. He died in the 5th century, after which the Catholic Church canonized him a saint. March 17th commemorates his death as a feast day all around the world.

When Patrick was 16, some Irishmen kidnapped and sold him into slavery. Six years later, he escaped his captors, ending up in France before he finally returned to Britain. He wanted to return to Ireland to spread the message of his Christian faith. After nearly 15 years of study, he again found himself in Ireland where he remained for the next 30 years.

Many say that Patrick rid Ireland of all its snakes, throwing them into the sea. This inaccurate tale may have been a metaphorical reference to the fact that Christianity eventually squelched other religions in the region.

St. Patrick's Day Parade - New York City - March 12, 2011
St. Patrick's Day Parade - New York City - March 12, 2011 | Source

The First St. Patrick’s Day Parade

You would think that since St. Patrick is associated with Ireland, that this is where the first parade took place. It actually happened in the US colonies on St. Patrick’s Day in 1762.

Irish soldiers marched in formation through New York City while serving in the English army. This event marked a rise in Irish pride and even today, the St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the largest in the United States. The parade has over 150,000 participants and attracts millions of spectators to the streets of New York City each year.

Other St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Every St. Patrick’s Day, the city of Chicago dyes the Chicago River green. This tradition started in 1962 when city union workers used 100 pounds of vegetable dye to color the river. The river stayed green for a week! Today, in the interests of being more environmentally friendly, workers only use 40 pounds of dye and the river only stays green for a few hours.

Leprechaun and Clover Magic

Leprechauns, Irish Blessings, and St. Patrick's Day - Find out about some Irish recipes, some great little blessings and facts about leprechauns.

Great Ideas For Clover Tattoos; Clover and Shamrock Tattoo Meanings - Beautiful images of tattoos adorn this hub. It's replete with symbolic meaning, too.

Drowning the Shamrock and Other Irish Whiskey Traditions - This hub has Irish songs, some poems, and lots of explanations of fun Irish traditions.


Wearing Green

The Irish used to consider wearing green a sign of bad luck. According to Irish folklore, fairies preferred the color green and would kidnap people who wore too much of it. However, people all over the world now wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid getting “pinched”.

Irish pride continues to grow. As of 2006, nearly 34 million people of Irish ancestry lived in the United States, a figure that is roughly ten times the population of Ireland.

Interestingly, about 4.8 million people have immigrated to the US from Ireland since 1820. Only the UK, Mexico, Germany and Italy have sent more immigrants to the US since then.

Other Symbols of St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrock – wearing green shamrocks is almost like a uniform on St. Patrick’s Day. It was originally a symbol of rebirth. However, when the English began taking over Irish land and imposing Catholic doctrine, the Irish used the shamrock as a symbol of their Irish pride and to express their discontent with English rule.

Leprechaun – these little guys never used to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day. It wasn’t until Walt Disney made the movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People did Americans begin to associate leprechauns with the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day. Then idea caught on and leprechauns have become a quintessential symbol of this holiday. In Irish folklore, they were magical little people that could use their powers for good or evil and used it to protect their legendary treasure.

Make Your Own St. Patrick's Day Green Beer

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day beer!Chilled glasses.Put about six drops of green food coloring in the bottom of the glass.Watch your beer glow green.Mmmm.  More green beer.
Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day beer!
Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day beer! | Source
Chilled glasses.
Chilled glasses. | Source
Put about six drops of green food coloring in the bottom of the glass.
Put about six drops of green food coloring in the bottom of the glass. | Source
Watch your beer glow green.
Watch your beer glow green. | Source
Mmmm.  More green beer.
Mmmm. More green beer. | Source

Celebrating with Beer

Drinking beer at an Irish pub is almost synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day.

Until about 40 years ago, Ireland mandated that all pubs be closed in observance of this religious holiday. But then, the Irish government relented and realized that opening the pubs and allowing for celebrations to take place could be a boon to its tourism industry. Now, not only are the pubs open for business, but they also have fireworks, parades, and music concerts to boot.

The popular beer, Guinness, sells millions of pints around the world on St. Patrick’s Day. Arthur Guinness brewed his first batch of the drink in Dublin, Ireland in 1759.

The US, however, leads the world in celebrations at Irish pubs. The US boasts 1,672 of them around the country; no other country comes close. Ireland has just over half that many at 852 pubs.

Many people enjoy green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not difficult to make.

Make Your Own Green Beer

What you’ll need:

  • 2 bottles of beer (to start with, anyway) – a lighter beer works better for showing color, but any beer will do. In the pictures at right, I used Fat Tire.
  • Green food coloring
  • Two chilled glasses

1. Take the chilled glasses and put about 6 drops of food coloring in each.

2. Pour in beer slowly.

3. Enjoy.

Have You Ever Wondered How an Irishman Might Celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Watch the video below to see the funny antics of this Irishman and what he does on St. Patrick's Day. It's definitely not quite what people in the United States do, but interesting nonetheless.

© 2012 Cynthia Sageleaf

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    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 3 years ago from Western NC

      Susi10 - Well hello there! I will have to check out your St. Paddy's day hub and link it up! And forgive me: I'm taking graduate courses at the moment that don't permit me much free time, hence my tardiness in responding. I will return the favor in kind. I hope you had a great day yesterday! Slán!

    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 3 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      Happy St.Patrick's Day! I wrote a hub on St.Patrick's Day myself and I came across this. Well done, it is a great hub! I enjoyed reading about all the ways you can celebrate St.Patrick's Day including all the facts and trivia. The parade in New York looks amazing, perhaps even better than the one in Dublin. The Americans really are proud of the Irish and of the Emerald Isle. Most Americans could be related to the Irish anyway, because so many of the Irish people emigrated to New York during the Great Famine in the 1800's.

      Shared and voted up and interesting. Have a great St.Patrick's Day, Cyndi! Slán! (Bye in Irish) :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      AJ - LOL...Erin Go Bragh! Enjoy your green beer! ;)

    • ajwrites57 profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Top 'O the Mornin' to Ya! Id love to visit Ireland someday! I have Irish heritage, I get wistful thinkin' of Ireland--I think its genetic! Erin Go Bragh! :o)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Kathryn - thank you so much! I appreciate the shares and feedback. Yes, until I did the research for this, I didn't know there were more people of Irish descent here in the States than in Ireland. Hehe.

      SuzieHQ - hehe, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! Happy early St. Patty's day! I appreciate the shares, too! Cheers!

      Vicki - thank you so much! I appreciate the link and I will endeavor to do the same! Hehe

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is great! I have a St. P's hub, too, that has green beer and other appetizers. You've done an excellent job going into so many details about the holiday. I must link his to my hub!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi CClitgirl,

      Well, what a great tribute to my wee country and for paddy's Day! Video i have to say made my partner and I laugh at some of the things we Irish supposedly to! Here it is of course a national holiday and for many an excuse to party down the local watering hole. Great job, voted up, interesting, funny, shared and pinned! Slainte!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      There are so many things I did not know about the holiday, the traditions, and the facts you presented. The video was also amusing.

      It amazes me that there are a lot more people of Irish descent in the states than there are Irish people in Ireland!

      Thanks for such a great hub. I'm sharing this on HP and with my followers on G+.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Miss Sunshine - Happy St. Patrick's Day to you! May your day be filled with four-leaf clovers and gold - figuratively and literally! ;)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you CC. Wishing you a lucky day:)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Nare Anthony - I'm so glad you liked this. Enjoy your green beer! :D

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 5 years ago

      GREAT! Voted up and shared!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      ThePracticalMommy - thanks so much for stopping by! Cheers and lots o' green beer for the Irish! :D

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      I like the green beer idea! Maybe I'll make that for my Irish husband this year... :) Voted up and SHARING!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Haha, Brett, I think you should go around in green in South Korea proclaiming a day of green! Green beer for everyone! Hehe. Thanks for SHARING!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Hehe, Marcy, I'm glad you liked this. Hehe. I appreciate the votes!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      I miss this holiday, it was always great fun in the UK! Although, if we pinched everyone in green, it would be the 'boys in blue' for us lol.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Fun hub! I enjoyed reading some of the traditions and history! Voted up and interesting!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wow! Green dinners, tammy? Hehehe. Green taters and carrots. Mmm. This all brings new meaning to "green" tea and "green" olives. Haha.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Adorable! I have served green dinners for St. Patrick's Day. Mashed potatoes are fun. Well researched and presented.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      steph - I'm glad I could help in your St. Patty's day knowledge. :D Now, you can do trivia quizzes at the dinner table, haha. Thanks so much for commenting and SHARING.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      LW - of course I had to include a link to your beautiful hubs! I'm so glad you liked this. :D Happy V-Day to you, too.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Really learned a lot about St. Patrick's Day! Who knew the first parade for the holiday was in America? Rated up and interesting & I just put out a tweet on it! :) Steph

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up, awesome, useful, and interesting. Awesome article. I saw where you mentioned writing this article so I am glad I caught it. All sorts of interesting things. You did a great job CC. Loved the history. Happy V-Day and see you around.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      jonmcclusk - enjoy! The food coloring doesn't do anything to the taste. Though I'll admit I wouldn't drink it EVERY day, haha.

    • jonmcclusk profile image

      Jonathan McCloskey 5 years ago from Cinnaminson, New Jersey

      I enjoyed learning a bit of history about St. Patricks day, I'm going to give that green beer a try.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Hmm...when I made that green beer for this hub, I didn't notice anything unusual. HAHAHAHA. Thanks for the votes, Ardie. ;)

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Is it green beer makes your poo blue or blue beer makes your poo green? Either way I think I will be drinking diet coke so there arent any surprises! Very cute Hub. Voting Up and across.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Hey there, homesteadbound - thanks for the link and stopping by! As always, one of your great admirers!! :)

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      Hi, cclitgirl! I am heading to my March calendar hub and linking this one up! It is great!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Jessi10 - thank you so much for your great feedback. I appreciate your stopping by. I'm so glad you liked it and thank you for the votes. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      alocsin - thank YOU for SHARING. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Green sake, alocsin? I admit my ignorance: I don't know what that is. But, I imagine a few drops of green food coloring would do the trick. :D

    • Jessi10 profile image

      Jessica Rangel 5 years ago from Lancaster, CA

      This is an incredible Hub! Love the information on it! Its definitely a great way to learn about this day!

      Voted up!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Oops, forgot to say, thanks for SHARING.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      A nice tribute to a very popular holiday. The green beer info is quite interesting. I prefer sake -- I wonder if it's possible to make green sake? Voting this Up and Interesting.