When is St. Patrick's Day?
March 17, every year
We love our bourbon. You know that. The Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky (notice the spelling difference) distillers came to America, to make a new life. In the new land, corn was in abundance and thus was distilled by these masters.
So we honor the traditions they brought to America.
Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, lit. 'the Day of the Festival of Patrick'), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. 385 – c. 461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland."
Kilbennan St. Benin's Church Window St. Patrick Detail 2010. Photo by Andreas F. Borchert, Wikipedia Creative Commons.)
FAQs of St. Patrick's Day
- Why/what do we celebrate?
Traditionally, St. Patrick, the patron saint who brought Christianity to Ireland. Historically, a Catholic celebration; March 17 was the day of his death. In modern times of course, the celebration has become more secular for most; a celebration -- party, if you will -- of Irish heritage.
- Who was St. Patrick?
A fifth century Romano-British Christian missionary. The story goes that as a boy of 16, he had been kidnapped by Irish pirates and worked as a shepherd. He escaped and returned to bring Christianity to Ireland and became a bishop of Ireland. He is the patron saint of the isle and is known as the "Apostle of Ireland."
- Is St. Patrick's Day a holiday?
Not officially in the United States. But it is a holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and interestingly in Montserrat, a British territory, a mountainous Caribbean island
You could say that St. Patrick's is "indirectly" observed as a holiday in Boston, MA as it coincides with Evacuation Day, the day British troops evacuated Boston in 1776.
Cities like New York and Chicago nearly consider it a holiday, with the latter turning its river green.
- Where is St. Patrick's celebrated?
A better question might be, where is it not celebrated? As mentioned, the day is celebrated by both Irish and non-Irish alike, as the day has expanded secularly. The festivities can be found as far away as Japan, Singapore, even Dubai.
- Why Is St. Patrick's Day green?
Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle. And green is one of the three colors of the Irish flag. The green traditionally represents the Irish Catholics, the orange the Irish Protestants and the white the unity between the two.
(Photo: Flag of Ireland.)
And the Emerald Isle is incredibly green. A famous Hollywood anecdote: when legendary film director John Ford screened his masterpiece The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara for studio execs, the head of Republic Pictures Herb Yates was rather irritated that the cinematography was so green!
- What music is good for St Patrick's Day?
The Irish have a rich history of music, and The Quiet Man meticulously includes a lot of the traditional songs. But of course, Irish music is more than just that. One of the biggest bands in the world is Ireland's U2, with anthems born from their lives, like "Blood Sunday" and "New Year's Day."
But if you are looking for some good ole Irish "craic" -- fun, enjoyable, entertainment -- the Young Dubliners are the craic, with their rocking version:
- What should I drink on St Patrick's Day?
Ah, now you're taking. Assuming you mean the drink of the libations kind :) The day is known, perhaps overwroughtly, as a time to have a few shots or pints, to whit there is a well-known toast::
"Saint Patrick was a gentlemen
Who, through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland--
Here's a bumper to his health,
But not too many bumpers,
Less we lose ourselves and then
Forget the good St. Patrick
And see the snakes again!"
Add this to your pocket and be the star of the show.
The Irish are known of course for their Irish whiskey -- spelled with the "e'" like America's bourbon. While Bourbon must be made of at least 51% corn, Irish whiskey comes from malted barley for single malt, usually distilled three times. Many Irish immigrants came to America with the master distillery skills and used what was plentiful in the New World, i.e. corn.
Here are some of the top-selling Irish whiskeys from Ireland:
(Jameson is the #1 seller of Irish whiskey in the world, with 30+ million bottles sold every year.)
- Powers Gold Label
- Tullamore Dew
Yes, you need Guinness Daught Stout, brewed in Dublin, established in 1759.
(Pictured: Guinness Draught Stout.)
Have you ever noticed the "widget' bouncing around in an empty can of Guinness, like a pebble? You probably didn't notice when you first opened the can. That is because it was doing its job when you opened the can -- that 'pebble" (that widget) is a hollow spherical plastic ball, like a ping pong ball, with a tiny hole in it. During the canning process, brewers add pressurized nitrogen, and it trickles into the hole of the ball.
When you click open that can, the pressure inside the can drops to the pressure of the room. But the pressure in the widget hasn't dropped as much, thus the nitrogenated beer inside the widget sprays into the beer, giving a thick and creamy head. YUM!
BTW, You must always have the proper glasses for a properly-poured glass of Guinness -- go here to obtain and keep on hand. CHEERS.
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