St. Patrick’s Day Traditions: Ireland vs. America
St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
In America, St. Patrick’s Day traditions include corned beef and cabbage, green beer, parties and parades. Did you know that most of those traditions were actually not celebrated in Ireland? Many of these traditions were started by Irish immigrants.
Here’s a fun fact for you: one of our project managers, Martin, is a Northern Ireland native. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Martin shared with us some Irish traditions his own family celebrates:
It’s a Holy Day of Obligation
Parties? There’s no such thing on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, all of the pubs were closed. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was strictly a religious holiday and considered a holy day of obligation. No matter the day St. Patrick’s Day fell on, families flooded the churches first thing in the morning.
The history of parades
Parades? Those weren’t a thing in Northern Ireland when Martin was growing up. Believe it or not, St. Patrick’s Day parades originated in America by Irish immigrants who wanted to keep the Irish culture alive. In some parts of Ireland, such as Dublin, the parade tradition began in the 1960’s. Where Martin grew up in Northern Ireland, the tradition of parades was only picked up in recent years.
Corned beef and cabbage is NOT a native dish
Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal– but not in Ireland. Corned beef and cabbage was a meal Irish immigrants started in America and was actually just a substitute for the bacon they ate in Ireland.
Martin recalls Bubble and Squeak being a meal his family ate every St. Patrick’s Day. Bubble and Squeak is left over vegetables and meat from a roast. Don’t have any leftovers but want to try this meal? No problem, check out this recipe.
Whether you’re celebrating at home or out and about, we wish you a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day filled with tradition and fun!
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