Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. What was once a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland, has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.
The St. Patrick’s Day celebration started in 1631 when the Church established a Feast Day honoring St. Patrick. He had been Patron Saint of Ireland who had died around the fifth century—12 centuries before the modern version of the holiday was first observed. But very little is known about who he was.
Legend says St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat. He changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which derives from the Latin term for “father figure,” after he became a priest. His supposed luck is the root of all the themed merchandise for modern St. Patrick’s Day.
As the years have passed many of the St. Patrick’s Day customs and its recipes have evolved.
Food is a big part of this day of celebration. Although corned beef and cabbage are often thought to be the main dish, there are many others, including soda bread, the Irish fry, fried Irish lamb belly and slow-poached organic chicken with tarragon, apple tart, colcannon [mashed potatoes and kale], roasted carrots and herbed Irish cheddar croquette. Explore some of these recipe’s here.
St. Patrick’s Day Parades and Celebrations
Parades and wearing green have always been a traditional part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but the events vary based on the city:
• Boston – St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Boston bring over 600,000 visitors to the city, which has a large Irish-American community. Boston has one of the largest parades, which many veterans take part in, and events are held in the large number of Irish pubs in the city. The Irish Cultural Centre holds a celebration, and many events feature Irish food, such as corned beef.
• New York – New York City is the host of the oldest civilian parade, which boasts over 200,000 participants. It is led by New York’s 69th infantry regiment. Second to New York City is Pearl River, another city in New York state, which has the second largest parade in the state with crowds of over 100,000 people.
• Scranton – This Pennsylvania city’s parade is one of the oldest and largest. Since 1862, this parade has been one of the most popular, with current celebrations attracting crowds of around 150,000.
• Chicago – The Irish community makes up a large part of Chicago’s celebration. Chicago dyes the Chicago River green and holds the South Side Parade, which has had to be scaled back in recent years due to the celebration growing too large for the Irish groups that hold the parade.
• New Orleans– This coastal city was the largest point of immigration for the Irish. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are typically held at the community or neighborhood level.
• Ireland – This celebration is more religious in nature, as it is considered a religious feast day. While it was made an official holiday in 1903, the first Saint Patrick’s Festival was held in 1996. During recent years, the event has become more cultural and consists of weeklong celebrations in the streets.
Whether you are going to one of these famous celebrations or throwing a party of your own, Atlanta Bread catering is the perfect way to top off this famed holiday. We’ve suggested a few of our favorite dishes that may bring you luck below:
• Creole Shrimp Caesar— crisp romaine lettuce, topped with shaved parmesan, fresh-baked croutons, seasoned shrimp and house-made Caesar dressing. (Limited Time Offer)
• Italian Sausage, Kale & Parmesan Soup— sautéed kale, crumbled sausage and shaved parmesan, whisked together with a touch of cream and served with fresh-baked baguette. (Limited Time Offer)
• Chicken Waldorf— chicken dried cranberries, fresh apples, walnuts & mayo on cranberry walnut bread.
• Hot Pastrami Panini— pastrami, swiss cheese & spicy mustard on rye bread.