How to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Whether it’s dressing up in fun costumes, eating delicious food, or attending fabulous parades, St. Patrick’s Day has something for everyone. Celebrated on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day honors the patron saint of Ireland. It was originally held as a Roman Catholic feast and was only celebrated in Ireland until Irish immigrants brought the holiday to the United States. Now, it’s more widely recognized as a celebration of Irish culture, but even non-Irish individuals join in the festivities.

Here’s what you can expect and some ways to celebrate:

Shamrocks everywhere

A species of the clover plant, the shamrock is associated with St. Patrick, who used it as a symbol for teaching Christianity’s Holy Trinity. Now symbols of Irish culture, shamrocks all over the place on St. Patrick’s Day: on t-shirts, jewelry, pins, and more. It has become the most widely recognizable symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.

Wearing all the green

The easiest way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is to wear green. It’s the color of springtime, the color of shamrocks, and is also one of the colors in Ireland’s flag. According to legend, it was also believed that wearing green would make you invisible to mischievous leprechauns. 

Some people enjoy going all out and dressing up as a leprechaun for the holiday, while others choose to just wear a green t-shirt. But even for those who don’t celebrate the holiday, wearing green socks, a green tie or a green hairband is a great way to show a little St. Patrick’s Day spirit.

Festive food

If dressing up isn’t really for you, then you can still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by enjoying some tasty Irish cuisine. Irish food is typically very hearty and delicious, and this holiday is the perfect chance for you to give it a try. Check out some restaurants near you to see whether they’re offering these items on their menu for St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Corned beef and cabbage: This is one of the most popular dishes to eat on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s super juicy, filling, and packed with flavor.
  • Shepherd’s pie: This dish is another St. Patrick’s Day staple of creamy mashed potatoes, flavorful ground meat, and vegetables.
  • Irish soda bread: Although it’s less commonly enjoyed by Americans, soda bread is super tasty and super easy to make, as it contains no yeast and doesn’t need to rise.

Besides all the popular St. Patrick’s Day foods, it’s very common for Americans to add green food dye to their everyday food as a creative way of celebrating. Cookies, cakes, breads, and even sauces are among the foods some people dye green.

Parades and more

St. Patrick’s Day is a time for fabulous celebrations and parades. Most cities throw a St. Patrick’s Day parade, with all sorts of music, dancing, and fun costumes. New York City has the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world, with a march that lasts almost 6 hours!

Another popular spot is Chicago, where the festivities include parades and dying the Chicago River an emerald green.

Many colleges have their own celebrations through student organizations. Contact your college’s center for student life and ask how you can get involved in the festivities!