Students explain the true meaning and differences of St. Patrick’s Day


Photo by Michael Klopfenstein

The mountains of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland on July 7, 2009. Ireland and the U.S. celebrate St. Patrick’s Day differently

Destiny Bryant , Reporter

Students of SHS are not the only ones flaunting their green attire on March 17. Roughly about 82.4 percent of the population in America take part in dressing in their greenest getup, according to

Though it may be celebrated or acknowledged by students, the majority of SHS students do not truly comprehend the full meaning of St. Patrick’s Day. Five students were asked and only one SHS student really knew what St. Patrick’s Day was all about.

“I have no idea what St. Patrick’s day is,” said sophomore Seejay Patel, one of the students surveyed.

Patel, like some other students, is unaware of the true meaning of St. Patrick’s day. He is only aware of the fictional figures, leprechauns, and the importance of wearing the color green.

There are also those students that do celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, such as Freshman Taylor O’Dell. She relates celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to celebrating Easter, saying that she does believe it is a holiday of importance.

“Take Easter for example,” O’Dell said. “Some may celebrate it for Christ and others just simply for the Easter bunny.”

While St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated mainly in Ireland, St. Patrick himself was not Irish nor was he a leprechaun. He was captured by the Irish and ironically grew to love the Irish culture. Therefore after he was returned home, he went back to Ireland to work as a missionary. According to, St. Patrick was known for ridding Ireland of the snakes that prowled the country.

In Ireland they celebrate the patron that helped protect their country, but why is it celebrated in America?

The Irish-American culture is the answer. In the state of Indiana, 16.9 percent of the population claims Irish heritage, according to

Although it is acknowledged in the U.S., there is a lot of disparity in the way the countries celebrate, according to English teacher Sam Hanley. Hanley has visited Ireland four times and is familiar with the Irish culture.

“In Ireland, they do not really celebrate it the same way that we celebrate it,” Hanley said.

While corned beef and cabbage happens to be consumed in America, in Ireland it is ham and cabbage, according to Either way, there is a 70 percent increase in the cabbage sold.

According to Hanley, in Ireland, they do not necessarily all wear green. Some civilians just wear their country’s colors.

“I do not really prescribe to wearing the color of green,” Hanley said. “I will probably wear my Dublin Rugby shirt which is actually two shades of blue.”