February is coming to an end, and March is upon us. That means it’s time to start gearing up for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! The annual festival of all things Irish falls on the 17th of March each year.
This year that will be a Sunday, so if you’re planning to host or attend a celebration that involves alcohol (and that will be most of them), chances are you may be doing your party on Friday night or Saturday instead of Sunday.
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the early party-season highlights of the year, and unless you or someone you’re close to has had a birthday or wedding, it may be the first day of festivities you’ve enjoyed since Christmas and New Year.
That’s a great season to consider hosting a party yourself. If that sounds like a fun idea, you’ve come to the right place for hints and tips. We’re here to make sure your St. Patrick’s Day party goes off with a bang!
Where it all started
Before we get into the hints and tips though, we figured it would be a good idea to tell you a little about what St. Patrick’s Day is, and how it all got started. It sometimes seems peculiar that so many people around the world celebrate an Irish Saint’s Day, even if neither they or their relatives have any Irish blood in their families.
What many people don’t realize is that the celebration didn’t even start in Ireland; it began in New York City centuries ago and is now recognized as the most global celebration in the world outside of religious occasions.
Not only is St. Patrick’s Day not an Irish celebration, but St. Patrick himself also wasn’t even Irish. He may not even have liked Ireland all that much; he was taken there as a slave when he was only sixteen years old. Historians and researchers have spent years trying to pin down exactly where he was born.
Some believe he was Scottish, while others point to the likelihood of him being from a Roman family, but nobody can say for sure. What we do know is that he wasn’t called Patrick; the historical figure most likely to be the ‘real’ St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, somewhere around the year 350. Maewyn didn’t have the happiest childhood; he was kidnapped by pirates before being sold into slavery.
He was bought by an Irish family and ended up in the country being forced to work as a farmer and shepherd. It was in the Emerald Isle that he began to feel a closer connection to God, starting with a vision that appeared to him in a dream.
The dream convinced the young Maewyn that he had a higher purpose than living his life as a slave, and he managed to escape to France to pursue the priesthood, including a twelve-year stay in a monastery.
It was then that the future saint had another dream, and another vision of God. This time, he was told that his religious calling was to return to Ireland and preach in the country that had once been his prison. Maewyn followed the instructions that were given to him to the letter, and so he returned to Ireland as a free man; this time a man with a mission.
The Gaelic people of Ireland at that time were either non-religious or pagan, with Celtic druids wielding power. Maewyn must have had a great deal of charm and charisma because he was soon converting people in their thousands. He met with royalty and impressed them, and with their backing he established churches and monasteries on his travels, doing more to bring Christianity to the country than anyone else.
Because of his huge influence on the nation’s religion, it wasn’t long after his death that Maewyn was named as the patron saint of Ireland, and given the name of Patrick. It would be a long time before he had a day given over to his honor though.
St. Patrick’s Day didn’t become an official religious feast until the 1700s, well over a thousand years since he died. The first ever recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade happened in New York in 1762, and was performed by Irish soldiers in the British army, who paraded down Broadway as a salute to the life of the saint.
Every year the parades and celebrations got bigger, and eventually, we ended up where we are today.
Now let’s get onto the party instructions!
What to wear
Green. Green, and a lot of pointy hats. The folklore and legends of Ireland are full of tales of leprechauns, and pots of gold to be found at the end of rainbows. Ireland’s national color is green, and leprechauns are historically depicted as wearing green, too.
The theming of leprechauns and other elements of Irish myth are present everywhere in our culture, including the ‘Leprechaun’ series of horror movies, the WWE wrestler Hornswoggle, and several popular Mobile slots including ‘Rainbow Riches,’ ‘Leprechaun Song’ and ‘Irish Luck.’
You could use any of them for inspiration, but usually, a hat and a green sweater are enough to complete the look. Bonus points for using horseshoes or shamrocks as accessories!
What to drink
The Irish national drink is Guinness stout, and it would feel rude to let the day pass without having at least one. If you really can’t stand stout, you could always go with Bulmers cider, Bailey’s Irish Cream or even Jameson whiskey. If all else fails, make yourself an Irish coffee. Just don’t go too far with it; nobody wants to wake up with a splitting headache the next day!
What to eat
If you’re drinking, we strongly recommend eating, too. Drinking on an empty stomach is never a great idea. Irish lamb stew is a typical national dish that’s easy to prepare. Corned beef and cabbage are a fixture of dinner in many Irish homes, too. Shepherd’s pie probably comes in third place.
We appreciate that none of these options may be too appealing to you, so it’s acceptable just to make lamb chops, which are more-or-less Irish.
What to listen to
Strictly speaking, you should be listening to Irish folk music and dancing a jig. That may start to grate on the ears after a while though, so consider adding some contemporary Irish music to the playlist as well.
There are plenty of great Irish bands and performers to choose from, from U2 through to Enya. The Script or Damien Rice are less predictable options.
That should be all it takes to get your theme right and your party rocking. Now you can focus on having a grand celebration; and may the luck of the Irish be with you!