Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday celebrated on the 17th of March each year to honour Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is a day filled with parades, parties, and green-coloured decorations and a time for reflection and gratitude towards the Irish culture and heritage.
Saint Patrick, who lived in the fifth century, is said to have converted the people of Ireland to Christianity. He is also associated with using the three-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity. Today, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated not only in Ireland but worldwide, with millions of people of Irish descent participating in festivities and celebrations.
One of the most iconic traditions associated with Saint Patrick’s Day is wearing green. The colour green has long been associated with Ireland and is said to represent the lush green countryside of the Emerald Isle. On Saint Patrick’s Day, people wear green clothing and accessories and even paint their faces green to show their pride and connection to Irish culture. Another popular tradition is the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. These parades, which occur in cities worldwide, feature marching bands, floats, and performers dressed in green. The world’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade takes place in New York City, where over two million people gather to watch the parade.
In addition to the festivities, Saint Patrick’s Day is a time to reflect on Ireland’s rich history and culture. Many museums, galleries, and cultural centers offer exhibitions and events that showcase Irish art, music, and literature. It is also a time to honour and celebrate the contributions of Irish immigrants to the world, who have made significant contributions to fields such as politics, literature, and music.
Saint Patrick’s Day celebrates Irish culture and heritage, often marked by feasting and drinking. Popular traditional Irish dishes such as corned beef, cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and Irish soda bread are commonly served at family gatherings and parties. Unfortunately, the holiday is also commonly associated with drinking green beer and other alcoholic beverages. To fully embrace the spirit of the occasion, consider trying out some traditional Irish recipes, such as these three suggested dishes:
Corned Beef and Cabbage
four lbs corned beef brisket; six large carrots, peeled and chopped; two onions, peeled and chopped; one head cabbage, chopped; six to eight small red potatoes, halved; four cloves garlic, minced; two bay leaves; one tsp black peppercorns, one tsp mustard seeds, one tsp coriander seeds
- Rinse the corned beef and place it in a large pot. Cover it with water and add the bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds.
- Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours.
- Add the carrots, onions, potatoes, and garlic to the pot and simmer for another hour.
- Add the chopped cabbage to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.
- Remove the corned beef from the pot and slice it against the grain. Serve with vegetables and mustard.
Irish Soda Bread
Four cups all-purpose flour, one tsp baking soda, one tsp salt, 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Gradually stir in the buttermilk, mixing until a sticky dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it lightly.
- Form the dough into a round loaf and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Use a sharp knife to make a cross on the top of the loaf.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the bread, is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Allow the bread to cool before slicing and serving.
One lb ground lamb or beef, one onion, chopped, two cloves garlic, minced, one cup frozen peas, two cups frozen carrots, two tbsp tomato paste, one tsp Worcestershire sauce, one tsp dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste, four cups mashed potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a large skillet, cook the ground lamb or beef over medium heat until browned.
- Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until the onion is soft.
- Stir in the frozen peas and carrots, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the meat mixture to a baking dish and spread the mashed potatoes on top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown.
Enjoy these delicious traditional Irish dishes on Saint Patrick’s Day!
Canada, especially in cities with large Irish populations like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Halifax, includes parades, parties, and other festivities. For example, one of Canada’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day parades occurs in Toronto, attracting more than 100,000 spectators annually. The parade features marching bands, dancers, floats, and other performers dressed in green. In Montreal, the Saint Patrick’s Day parade is family-friendly, including music, dancing, and various cultural activities. In Vancouver, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society organizes an annual parade, which features more than 2,000 participants and attracts over 300,000 spectators. The parade includes Irish dance troupes, pipe bands, other performers, and floats decorated with Irish-themed motifs. In Halifax, the Saint Patrick’s Day parade is a community-focused event that features local marching bands, cultural groups, and other performers. The parade ends with a party at a local pub, where attendees can enjoy traditional Irish food and drink.
Besides parades, Canadians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day by attending parties and events at local bars and pubs. Many of these establishments serve traditional Irish dishes, such as corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, and a range of Irish beers and other beverages.
Saint Patrick’s Day is a famous and much-loved holiday in Canada, celebrated with various events and activities that showcase Irish culture and heritage. Whether you are of Irish descent or enjoy the festivities, Saint Patrick’s Day is a time to come together with friends and family, celebrate, and have fun.