There are many different traditions and customs associated with St. Patrick’s Day. The one most people are familiar with is that of wearing green. Let’s take a look at some of the other traditions and why they exist and what they represent or mean.
1. One St. Patrick’s Day tradition is that of using leprechauns in your decor and not telling any lies. It is an Irish symbol, and in the holiday theme, it is usually a hairy and happy elven creature. The legend goes that these little elves cobble shoes for fairies and that the fairies pay them very well. However, they are miserly and hide their gold in pots, usually at the end of rainbows so that they can find them again. A leprechaun can’t lie but can be very evasive and manipulative. Legends claim that if you catch one, you can make them tell you where they have hidden their pot of gold. So, all things leprechaun related, from hunting for leprechauns to using them as decor, to mimicking their inability to lie have become holiday traditions.
2. Like the leprechaun, shamrocks are a traditional St. Patrick’s Day symbol. Irish legend states that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, choose a three-leaf clover, also known as (the shamrock) as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. If you have the luck of finding a four-leafed clover, it represents God’s Grace, and good luck is attached to it. Hunting through clover patches is an Irish tradition, and decorating with Shamrocks and four-leafed clovers alike, discussing luck, playing games of luck, etc. are all part of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday tradition.
3. Another St. Patrick’s Day tradition is wearing and giving the Claddagh Ring. This is a ring with two cupped hands cradling a heart that has a crown on top. It is a ring given to friends and lovers and has been the traditional wedding ring of Irish folks since the 17th century. The heart represents love, the hand’s friendship, and the crown lasting fidelity and loyalty. How one wears the ring determines what it means. If the ring is worn on the right hand, with crown and heart facing out, this means that the wearer’s heart is free. If you are dating, but in love, you still wear it on the right hand but face the crown inwards. If you wear it on the left hand with the crown facing in, it means you have given your love in marriage, and it is to only one, forever.
4. Corned Beef and Cabbage is the Irish St. Patrick’s Day tradition most people are familiar with. Cabbage is and has been a mainstay of Irish diet for years, but it was usually served with bacon. Corned beef became part of the tradition when the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations came to America because many of the immigrants couldn’t pay as much for bacon and thus substituted corned beef.
St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a time for parades, parties, toasts in your favorite pub, and time spent with family. Whether your family hales from the Emerald Isle or just wants to join in the festivities – planning an at Irish home party is very easy.
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