Saint Patrick’s Day: From Ireland to Main Street

The 17th of March brings with it seas of people swathed in their favorite shade of green. Green is everywhere you look from the fountain downtown to the classic green beer that people enjoy (sometimes in excess) during this holiday. But what are the origins of St. Patrick’s Day, and how did it end up being celebrated all the way here in LaGrange, Georgia?

As most people know, St. Patrick’s Day’s originated in Ireland, as you can tell from the “Kiss Me I’m Irish” emblazoned shirts on many 20-30 somethings, regardless of their roots. St. Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feasting holiday in the 17th century. Historically, the holiday was most notably celebrated by the Catholic Church to honor Saint Patrick for bringing Christianity to the Irish people. Though Lent fasting continues until Easter, many waive its restrictions to celebrate the holiday, as it is usually accompanied by overindulgence in both rich foods and alcohol. From the United States and Canada, to most of Europe, and even all the way to Japan, many countries have adopted this Irish celebration. Though not a public holiday in these countries like it is in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is still a huge global celebration.

There are many traditions that accompany a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The most widespread custom is, of course, wearing green. This dates back to Saint Patrick’s time, as the Catholics in Ireland were associated with the color green. Saint Patrick also carried around a three-leaf clover or shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland, thus giving way to another traditional St. Patrick’s Day symbol. Another tradition for those 21 and up merrymakers is “wetting the shamrock” where a shamrock is placed at the bottom of a glass filled with your beverage of choice, usually whiskey, beer, or cider. Once the glass is full, everyone downs their drink in a toast to Saint Patrick, Ireland, and each other. St. Patrick’s Day events also usually include parades, Irish music and dancing, and eating Irish food and drinking Irish whiskey or beer.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to spend St. Patrick’s Day this year, Downtown La-Grange and its new hangout, Wild Leap Brew Company are hosting the annual St. Patrick’s Day Main Street Block Party. March 17th Main Street will be shut down to make way for live music, Irish dancing, and Irish food and drinks. This year there will be two stages, one on Main Street with Mr. Terrific playing from 5-9, and one at the South Main Plaza by Wild Leap Brew Co. where Smoke and Mirrors will be playing from 8-11. There’s no admission cost for this fun event so gear up for St. Patrick’s Day and don’t forget to wear green.

The author of this article can be reached via email at rhenderson@troupcountynews. net.