Did you know that people in the U.S. celebrate St. Patrick’s Day more than any other country in the world, including Ireland? Although there have been some changes to this religious holiday, millions still get gussied up in green on March 17th.
When you think of St. Patrick’s Day you may envision leprechauns, beer, "Kiss me I’m Irish" gear, and other elements that don’t apply to Irish culture, or the reason for the season, Saint Patrick.
Fun fact: St. Patty’s Day should be spelled as St. Paddy’s Day. In Irish culture, Patty is short for Patricia and Paddy is short for Pádraig (which is pronounced as Patrick). However, St. Patrick was Roman and he was referred to as Patricius!
Who Is Saint Patrick?
Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in memory of the patron saint of Ireland. He wasn’t the first Christian missionary in Ireland but he was the most successful. When he was 16, Saint Patrick was a Roman citizen living in Britain. One day he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland.
Eventually, St. Patrick escaped and returned to Britain. He chose to become a bishop and return to Ireland to teach a message of compassion for slaves, women, and poor people. He was met with some hostility but because he knew the language and how to relate Christianity to their pagan traditions, people began to warm up to him.
After about 40 years of working to build churches, advocating for people’s rights, and converting Ireland to Christianity, St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 A.D. Saint Patrick's Day began to be honored in Ireland in 1631, people participated by attending church during the day and ending the day with a feast.
Why Do Americans Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day?
Saint Patrick’s Day in America wasn’t celebrated on a wide scale until around 1762, when soldiers (of Irish heritage) in the British Army held a parade on March 17th on their way to a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at a tavern. The parades continued annually and after the failed Irish potato crops in 1845, there was a wave of Irish immigrants in the United States.
These immigrants were ridiculed and harassed, so each year on March 17th they honored their old home and traditions. St. Patrick’s Day started transforming into less of a religious holiday and simply became a celebration of being Irish.
Ironically, as the parties and parades for St. Paddy’s grew in America, the day continued to hold religious tones in Ireland until around the time that America’s version of this holiday could be shared globally.
Ireland took a cue from the U.S. and began incorporating some of the festivities that began in America such as eating corned beef and cabbage. Although, most Irish citizens are strongly against adding green dye to their drinks or food.
Fun fact: In 1996, Dublin, Ireland began hosting a multi-day Saint Patrick’s Day Festival and almost a million people attend each year.
St. Paddy’s Day Symbols
One of the most common St. Paddy’s Day symbols is the shamrock ☘️. Saint Patrick used this three-leafed clover as a teaching tool to explain the Holy Trinity to Ireland. Over time, some people have substituted the four-leafed clover for the shamrock because it is considered a lucky charm.
It’s easy to get confused since they are both clovers. There is another lucky green item that could be included in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations: Moss Ball Pets™!
When people discuss having the “luck of the Irish” they’re usually talking about someone who has amazingly good luck. This phrase wasn’t used until the California Gold Rush when it was noticed that Irish people were incredibly adept at striking gold.
Moss balls are considered lucky because of their mystical orb shape and the tragically beautiful Japanese origin story.
Make Your Own Luck With Moss Ball Pets 🍀
This St. Patrick’s Day, you can include your zany marimo in your celebration in three ways:
Everywhere you look on March 17th, you’re likely to see something green. If you’re hosting a holiday party for St. Paddy’s, you could use Moss Ball Pets™ as an eye-catching centerpiece for your table of Irish cuisine.
Moss balls can also be used as a conversation starter when placed in a terrarium on a coffee table or in your cubicle at work! No matter where they are placed, someone is sure to ask you about your fuzzy little green friends.
Recently, people have started to carry around or give out anti-pinch kits on St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be prepared for anything, you can adopt a moss ball and carry it around in a jar (or even a plastic sandwich bag if you’re in a rush). When someone tries to get you with their crab-esque pincers, your little green buddy can come to the rescue!
It’s also #WomensHistoryMonth, so if there’s a special woman that you admire, you could give her a Moss Ball Pet on March 17th, to protect her from pinching and to show your love, appreciation, or friendship.
Trust me, I know that this doesn’t seem very St. Patrick’s Day related but Moss Ball Pets are the perfect travel companion for a long day of St. Paddy’s Day parades, celebrations, and bar-hopping.
As mentioned before, they are portable, green, and interesting so they’ll definitely help you break the ice at any Saint Patrick's event you attend. They’re equipped to be your lucky charm as you travel from place to place throughout the night.
If you want to know more about traveling with moss balls, click here.
Honoring Saint Patrick 💚
Whether you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a more traditional way or modern way, you’re sure to have a good time.
Instead of participating in traditions you don’t agree with or understand, you can find a way to integrate your own methods of celebrating Irish culture or the work of St. Paddy. As shown by recent history, it’s never too late to start a new tradition!
Author: Tierra C. Watkins
Animal lover. Macaroni & Cheese enthusiast. Avid Bibliophile.
Language dilettante. Zany freelance writer. Part-time triceratops.