St Patrick wasn’t Irish and he didn’t wear green!
His Saint’s day is enthusiastically celebrated on the 17th March, and is a wonderful mixture of fact and legend.
He was born in Britain in around 385 AD and was taken as a slave to Ireland in his teens. After six years, he escaped back to a monastery in England, but returned to Ireland in his 30’s where he worked as a missionary.
Early paintings show him wearing blue clothes. The strong link with green came later, in about the 19th century and is believed to be representative of the beautiful, verdant Irish countryside. He is also closely associated with the green shamrock, with its three leaves which he used as a symbol of the Holy Trinity while converting the country to Christianity.
Don’t get pinched by a Leprechaun!
He died on 17th March, hence the chosen date for St Patrick’s Day, a huge celebration for anyone of Irish decent. It is vital to wear green as part of the festivities, or risk getting pinched! Revellers believe that wearing green makes one invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who will pinch anyone they see who is not wearing green. To show solidarity with the leprechauns, people will also pinch green-abstainers. You have been warned!
Food and Drink
St Patrick’s Day always involves good food and plenty of alcohol. Popular dishes include Irish soda bread, Colcannon, a delicious mixture of potato, bacon, cabbage and cream, rich and nourishing Irish stews and of course, lashings of Guinness! It’s not uncommon for the food and drink to be dyed green for the day.
If you would like to learn a bit more about the food of St Patrick’s Day, why not join us on our specially themed ‘Cooking Together’ event on Friday 17th March. We may even raise a traditional toast to St Patrick: ‘May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.’