Four St Patrick’s Day traditions

St Patrick’s Day is a day to remember the patron saint of Ireland and celebrate the rich history and heritage of Irish culture.

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According to Brittanica, Saint Patrick established monasteries, churches and schools before his death in March 461. Legends of him driving snakes out of Ireland have echoed down the generations in Ireland and are often celebrated and discussed on St Patrick’s Day. But what other traditions can you expect to see on the day?

Guinness

The legendary Irish stout crafted in Dublin’s famous brewery is drunk all over the world, but never more so than on St Patrick’s Day, when an estimated 13 million pints of Guinness will be enjoyed worldwide. The rich, iron-infused stout is synonymous with Irish culture. It’s advised to let the drink settle half way through pouring in order to create the perfect pint.

Leprechauns

Throughout Irish history, these cheeky, rosy cheeked creatures make an appearance in folklore, myths and stories. Thought to date back as far as the 8th century, leprechauns are mischievous and mercenary. On St Patrick’s Day, you can expect to see many people dressing up in their traditional green suit complete with top hat and buckled shoes.

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Shamrocks

It is believed that St Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Christian holy trinity to the Irish when he returned there in 432. Around St Patrick’s Day, farmers will sell masses of the small, green plant worldwide, making for an industry that turns over €600,000 annually. But the true history of the shamrock often creates controversy, with some horticultural experts suggesting that variations of the plant can be found all over the world, meaning it isn’t native to Ireland. Regardless of its origin, the shamrock is a key symbol of St Patrick’s Day and is often worn on clothing. In more recent years, gimmicks such as shamrock flavoured crisps have also been introduced at this time of year. A shamrock is probably one of the simplest and most traditional St Patricks Day gifts (https://www.shamrockgift.com/st-patricks-day).

Cabbage and corned beef

Every nation has a traditional dish and the Irish one is cabbage and corned beef. With humble beginnings, it is thought to be a hearty ‘peasant’ dish enjoyed by the poor in ancient Ireland. On St Patrick’s Day, it is often the dish of choice for many Irish families.

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