Happy St. Patrick's Day: Irish traditions, parades and more

st-patricks-day-girls.jpgIt's Saturday, March 17 and you know what that means - St. Patrick's Day. So put on your green, get some Irish beer and get ready to celebrate.

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales in 385 AD and was named Maewyn. He was sold into slavery at the age of 16 and it was in captivity that he became a Christian and adopted the name Patrick.

After escaping slavery and studying in the monastery in Gaul, Patrick was appointed second bishop of Ireland, where he served for 30 years. He died March 17, 461 AD at the age of 76 and has been celebrated on that day ever since.

The shamrock symbol of St. Patrick's Day comes from Patrick's use of the shamrock to explain the trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost). The celebration came to the U.S. in 1737, where it was celebrated for the first time in Boston.

The actual "traditions" of wearing green, drinking Irish or green beer, and pinching anyone not wearing green are strictly U.S. customs. In Ireland, the holiday is celebrated like many other saints' days - there are Catholic masses held and families gather together for large meals, much like how U.S. families celebrate Thanksgiving. The larger cities usually hold parades.

Parades are also now held annually all over the world - you can look up here to see if there are any in your local area.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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