While some would argue you don’t need a reason to grab a bottle of your favorite wine or mix up your favorite cocktail, people also love an excuse to gather together and toast their favorite actual or acquired holiday. Our Dragons at Dragon Spirits Marketing agree, and St. Patrick’s Day, especially in the United States is a perfect example of just that, a fun holiday for friends to gather together and raise a toast in celebration.
St. Patrick was a missionary to Ireland and recognized as a saint by the Catholic church. Upon the anniversary of his death, a feast day was named to honor him and his life, allowing for a day long moratorium on the fasting required by some Christian churches during the Lenten season. This feast day allowed for drinking and food consumption to occur. In the United States, entire cities enjoy the celebrations, with over 600,000 participating in Boston and over 150,000 participating in cities like New York and Scranton.
Traditionally, the celebration was religious with church being a primary focus, followed by a large family meal. With a large influx of the Irish population in the United States, the holiday became increasingly secular. The Irish people would identify a shamrock with St. Patrick because of the Christian teaching he did during his life. Eventually, a shamrock would be worn on clothing to show pride in his work. Wearing all green became a natural extension of the color of the leaves.
While St. Patrick’s Day originated in Ireland, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred in the United States. Many Irish immigrated to the US for different opportunities which increased the popularity of this annual event. Today, St. Patrick’s Day parades take place in cities all over the United States and in cities in Ireland as well. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “[s]ince 1962 Chicago has coloured its river green to mark the holiday.”
Corned beef and cabbage are a quintessential St. Patrick’s Day food and you can find “kits” in your local grocery store that will take you through the steps of making this hearty meal. Shepherd’s pie is a very adaptable option, with any type of ground meat and cooked vegetables making a base for a healthy serving of mashed potatoes. Irish soda bread, heaving with dried fruits and coriander, or a traditional Irish breakfast is a great way to start off the day before heading out to the parades. Here in the United States it is not uncommon to find food dyed green or commercial products, like children’s cereal, with a little St. Patrick’s Day twist.
Of course, consuming green beer is the easiest way to celebrate this day. By taking a lighter beer and adding a few drops of green food coloring, you can feel a little Irish yourself. In some bars and parts of the country, green beer will be consumed for days surrounding the 17th of March. Depending on who you talk to, a Black and Tan or Half and Half may be a great option for those who like a dark beer layered with their lighter beer, too. Your favorite Irish whiskey can be toasted on St. Patrick’s Day as well.
We hope everyone is headed to their local stores to purchase supplies and wares to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in their own way. It can be a fun way to learn a little history, gather with friends, and have a new drink. To learn more about how Dragon Spirits Marketing can help market your favorite Irish drink or food, contact us today. In the meantime, Sláinte!