St. Patrick’s Day 2015 in Lansing

Every year people look forward to St. Patrick’s Day for parades, pub hopping, festivals, drinking, eating traditional Irish foods, and other green-related things. Somewhere along the way, however, the history of St. Patrick’s Day somehow became lost in all the revelry and was replaced with a more generic form of celebrating being Irish. Or knowing someone who is Irish. Or simply liking the color green. This year, before the green beer starts flowing and the corned beef and cabbage appears in every kitchen, let’s take a step back and take a look at where the holiday came from.

Who is Saint Patrick anyway?

Most people can guess that St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration for a real person called Patrick. A lesser known fact is that he was actually from England, not Ireland. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century in England until he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and sold as a slave in Ireland. He escaped slavery and returned to England, but eventually returned to Ireland, bringing Christianity with him.

St. Patrick is believed to have died on March 17, 461. Beginning around the ninth or 10th century, residents in Ireland began honoring his death with an annual feast on March 17.

Why did people in the United States start celebrating a religious Irish holiday?

Beginning in the late 1700s, Irish immigrants that settled in America showcased the pride they had in their heritage by founding and growing “Irish Aid” societies. For years these different groups would hold their own, annual parades, until in 1848 several of the New York Irish Aid societies banded together to form one official parade. That parade was and still is known as the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is the largest parade in the United States and the oldest civilian parade in the world.

When even more Irish immigrants came to the United States after the start of the Great Potato Famine of 1845, the growing numbers of Irish Americans realized they could hold an important position in the world of politics. St. Patrick’s Day parades suddenly shifted from being just a patriotic display for Irish Americans into an event that political candidates had to attend to gain favor with the group that held the strongest swing vote.

St. Patrick’s Day festivities spread along with the Irish immigrants that settled throughout the rest of the United States. These cities developed traditions of their own, which spread out and became increasingly popular until St. Patrick’s Day evolved into the holiday that it is today.

St. Patrick’s Day in Lansing

This year, as in previous years, Lansing bars and restaurants will continue the tradition of serving green beer and different variations of traditional Irish food. Irish pubs especially will get into the spirit of the holiday – at Dublin Square the celebrating starts very early (7 a.m.) on Saturday, March 14. Everything you could ask for in a St. Patrick’s Day celebration is going to be happening at Dublin Square – corned beef hash for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Guinness, entertainment in the form of bagpipes, dancers, leprechauns, live music, and more.

To help you (and your liver and kidneys) feel a little better, Sunday, March 15 is the 2015 Lucky Feet! 5k Kidney Run/Walk at Michigan State University. Benefitting the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, you can dress up (for a good cause!) in a St. Patrick’s Day themed costume and toddle along a 3.1 mile course within the Michigan State University campus.

However you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, Lansing will have you covered with the best bars and restaurants to celebrate in, a charity event to make you feel good about yourself, and a little history lesson about the holiday you are celebrating.

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