History of St. Patrick’s Day

Gabriella Rodriguez-Sanchez, Reporter

St. Patrick is known as a patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped but returned to Ireland and is known for bringing Christianity back with him.
The commercialization of St. Patrick’s Day has impacted the holiday’s portrayal in media. Towns are painted green, and thousands celebrate with beer, beads and other festive pieces to celebrate a holiday they may not know much about.
“I usually try to wear green so I don’t get pinched, and pinch those who aren’t wearing it,” sophomore Amy Truong said.
Truong has had some interesting experiences with St. Patrick’s Day in the past.
“I remember someone was wearing green pants and all of the sudden they were taken away from them by my peers for no reason and that’s my first experience remembering the holiday,” Truong said.
Truong said that there is a misrepresentation of St. Patrick’s Day in the media that Americans tend to follow.
“St. Patrick’s day is customarily an Irish religious celebration as opposed to American,” Truong said. “Americans use it as an excuse to drink alcohol just like they do with Cinco de Mayo.”
St. Patrick shaped the religious identity of the Irish people and has left a lasting impact on the country of Ireland.
“He was Roman Catholic and spread Catholicism throughout Ireland,” Truong said. “St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the day of his death.”
Truong said St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated March 17, and was originally for religious purposes, but the holiday has been changed to represent a more festive celebration.
“The holiday started as a religious ceremonial dinner,” Truong said. “The fact that people changed the true meaning of the holiday is unjust, because it represents the Irish culture incorrectly.”
Truong believes there should be a balanced way to celebrate that can be both culturally respectful and still enjoyable to others.
“I’m indifferent on how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day,” she said. “On one hand, there should not be cultural appropriation, but on the other hand, people should be entitled to having fun and celebrating as they please.”
Truong added that there’s a misconception of how St. Patrick’s Day should be celebrated and that the whole concept of the holiday has been wrongfully portrayed.
“Media represents Irish people as ignorant drunks, but in reality the Irish are celebrating a religious feast and the Americans are the drunks,” Truong said.
Truong believes Americans should do better to understand the meaning behind St. Patrick’s Day.
“If Americans learned what the holiday actually was about I feel that they would be a lot more sensitive to their cultural identity,” Truong said.