If you are in the U.S., you have probably heard that St. Patrick’s Day is coming soon. This holiday is on March 17 and originates in Ireland. Who was St. Patrick, and why do we celebrate this Irish holiday in the U.S.?

Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York City

St. is the abbreviation for Saint. This title is given to important people in the history of the Catholic church. St. Patrick is an important saint from Ireland. In the fifth century, Patrick brought Christianity to the people of Ireland. He used a common Irish plant called the shamrock to the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), which is a central idea of Christianity.

St. Patrick's Day USA

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday. It also includes festivals and parades celebrating Irish culture. Irish immigrants brought the holiday to many other countries, including the U.S. Though it is still a religious holiday for people of Irish heritage, other people celebrate March 17 as simply a fun day for visiting bars, enjoying traditional Irish music, and drinking beer. Cities with many Irish Americans have festivals and parades to celebrate the holiday.

st. patrick's day parade
The St. Patrick's Day parade in Savannah, Georgia has been an annual event since 1813.

On St. Patrick’s Day, people usually wear and decorate with the color green. Green represents the shamrock as well as the country of Ireland, also called “the Emerald Isle”. If someone forgets to wear green, other people might pinch him or her!

St. Patrick's wear green
This little boy reminds you to wear green on St. Patrick's Day!

[window photo from elmar; shamrock photo from cobalt123]