St. Patrick’s Day: Celebrating Irish history and culture


Illustration by Faith Okoli

Graciela Aguilar, Staff Writer

Celebrate this year’s St. Patrick’s Day  

St. Patrick’s Day is an annual holiday celebrated March 17 to commemorate Saint Patrick, a 5th-century missionary. St. Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to parts of Ireland and is well known for being one of the patron saints of Ireland. 

St Patrick’s Day is a holiday to celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish with traditional food and green clothing and is overall a time to have fun. Many people wonder, “Why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?” 

What’s the story behind wearing green and leprechauns on St. Patrick’s? Day?  

Part of the reason we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day is because of Ireland’s nickname the Emerald Isle. St. Patrick was also known to use green shamrocks to teach his people about Catholicism. But apart from wearing green, there are many other Irish traditions done on March 17; for instance, pinching anyone who is not wearing green. 

Most Americans and Irish know of the folktales surrounding the Leprechaun, with their mischievous plans to pinch anyone not wearing green on the holiday. Irish folktales dating back centuries tell the tale of a miniature-man, who was originally thought out to be a shoemaker, who stores his winnings in a pot at the end of a rainbow wearing a green suit. Leprechauns are associated with Saint Patrick’s Day because of their correlation and symbolism to the history of Ireland.   

As far as pinching your neighbor goes, wearing green isn’t the only tradition that comes with St. Patrick’s Day. Along with the holiday comes rich food and drinks. Traditionally the Irish celebrate the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick with an abundance and variety of dishes and drinks. Foods you can try should on the holiday are corned beef, a salt-cured brisket of beef, cooked low and slow for a couple of hours to enrich flavor, shepherd’s pie, a meaty dish topped with garlicky mashed potatoes with a sprinkle of cheddar; and sauteed cabbage with salt and pepper to add as a side to any dish.  

Along with these customs, drinking is also known to be done on the holiday. Drinking on St. Patrick’s Day was the result of Irish Immigrants celebrating their culture and national pride. This celebration combined two key aspects to St. Patrick’s Day: the ending of Lenten fasting and the abundance of celebration. One popular tradition for the Irish and anyone celebrating the holiday is to drink green beer or Irish whiskey.  

Among the many bars in Bakersfield, McGarry’s Irish Pub located at 110 Calloway Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93312, is preparing for the holiday with live music, drinks, and even bagpipers throughout the day.  

“We will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. St. Patrick’s Day. Hosting events such as bagpipers playing, live music from Vince Galindo and The Iron Outlaws, and drinks being served all night,” said George Masud owner of McGarry’s Irish Pub.  

Join in the celebration of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day at McGarry’s with friends and family. This will be the pub’s first St. Patrick’s Day and is expecting a large celebration.