It's time to rifle through your closet and get out your green! March 17 and St. Patrick's Day looms once again, and this massive celebration of Irish-American culture in the U.S. is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. That wasn't always the case, however. Here is what you need to know about the origins of this famed U.S. holiday, some of our most popular St. Patrick's Day celebrations, and how you can bring some authentic Irish fun into your gathering.
St. Patrick's Day History
Believe it or not, St. Patrick wasn't even Irish. He was a British nobleman kidnapped by Irish pirates just after 400 A.D. He spent 17 years as a slave and escaped Ireland but decided to return to the country as a missionary. It is widely believed that March 17 commemorates the date of his death.
Saint Patrick's Day has been an official Christian holiday since the 17th century, called "the Day of the Festival of Patrick." The day wasn't even marked as a public holiday in Ireland until 1904. Now, St. Patrick's Day has grown into a four-day festival in Dublin, much of which has been influenced by the way the Americans celebrate the holiday.