Spring is around the corner, and flowers are beginning to appear. If you look/listen closely, you can almost hear the faint sounds of cheering crowds of parade-goers and party enthusiasts gathering for St. Patrick’s Day. The rainbow and green-clad masses make their way to town squares, line city streets, and ride hand-decorated floats to celebrate a holiday honoring Irish heritage, with few questions asked beyond, “Isn’t this great?”
What ties us to this celebration, other than the fun, food, and comradery? Why do roughly 122 million Americans celebrate on March 17?
Let’s start with the basics, such as the history of the holiday. Saint Patrick is recognized as the Patron Saint of Ireland who, according to lore, drove all the snakes out of Ireland. During the 17th century, March 17 was established as a day for religious feasting in his honor.
Throughout history, this tradition has spread globally to include other countries where those of Irish ancestry (and other willing participants) now celebrate Irish heritage with colorful attire, elaborate parades, festivals, music and Irish cuisine. This year, for example, the Irish cuisine and beverage market will be explored at FarePlate, in New York City, where attendees can see live cooking demonstrations, enjoy tastings, and hear speakers detail the history and future of the cuisine.
When it comes to attire for this holiday, the modern answer is anything and everything green, a native symbolic color that represents Ireland; however, history tells us that the color blue was once the favored hue associated with St. Patrick.
For those interested in going the extra mile with their emerald-colored gear, athletic company New Balance is releasing limited edition footwear just in time for marching and or pub-crawling. The 990v4 “New Green” sneaker model might set you back more than a few gold coins with its $165 price tag, but this is a trend we are watching, where fashion designers are targeting holidays with themed capsule releases.
Perhaps, though, a more interesting reason to don green is that, according to folklore, it renders you invisible to the mischievous leprechaun—because, let’s face it, who really likes being pinched?
So, you might be asking, how can I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with traditional foods? The short answer is, by sharing with friends, as the holiday is centered around kindship and feasting. Some dishes considered staples are Bangers and Mash, Colcannon, Shepherd’s Pie, and Corned Beef and Cabbage.
If these protein-and starch combos don’t whet your appetite, perhaps Trader Joe’s current St. Patrick’s Day offerings, like the Blarney Scone Irish Soda Bread, and Irish Breakfast Tea, can suffice for pre-parade breakfast grub. Also, if green beer sounds like a potential headache waiting to happen, there are natural ingredients that can turn your ale or non-alcoholic sparkling cider into a shamrock-colored beverage.
However you choose to take part in the fun of St. Patrick’s Day, make the most of it by discovering new foods, flavors, and enjoying the revelry. Oh, and don’t forget to don your green from head to toe!
To find St. Patrick’s Day recipes, visit foodchannel.com!