While drinking green beer, eating green food and singing and dancing through parade routes and toasting in cheer of the luck of the Irish is the modern way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this tale did not always have the same cheery connotation.

On March 17, 461 A.D., the man known as Saint Patrick passed away after a life of enslavement and poverty. It is presumed that Saint Patrick was born in Scotland and was captured by Irish marauders at the age of 16. One night, as his story of Confesio states (the memoir he wrote in his last few years), he heard a voice that prompted him to escape the marauder’s internment and return home to his family in Britain.

Samantha Moore / Art Director

Samantha Moore / Art Director

However, he claimed to have been summoned back to the Irishmen by another dream where he claimed that these Irishmen wanted him to come back and walk with them in their country once again.

Patrick then devoted his life to priesthood, soon becoming an ordained bishop, and lived for 40 years in poverty where he taught and worked.

There are many legends on why St. Patrick’s Day has become widely celebrated, one of which is that he drove the snakes out of Ireland, which is how it is commonly portrayed in art.

Technically speaking, according to National Geographic, “Snakes likely couldn’t reach Ireland. Most scientists point to the most recent Ice Age, which kept the island too cold for reptiles until it ended 10,000 years ago. After the Ice Age, surrounding seas may have kept snakes from colonizing the Emerald Isle.”

It wasn’t until 1995 that St. Patrick’s Day went global, according to history.com. It actually began when Irish troops paraded through New York City in 1762. By 1995, the Irish government thought of this as a good way to promote their  country and market the day.

According to wallethub.com, in 2017, the celebration continues on and is widely observed, with Boston, Massachusetts ranking in third for best celebration in the United States. It is also celebrated in many ways that are close to Keene State College.

Just 63 miles shy of KSC is the Holyoke, Massachusetts road race and parade generally celebrated over the course of the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day. In 2017, almost 6,000 runners participated in the 42nd race with the temperatures barely reaching mid-40s.

A bit further away from Keene, NH is Chicago, Illinois, where the city is known for the idea of turning the river that runs through the city green.

The city pours 45 pounds of vegetable based oil into the river to give it this green color.

According to wallethub.com, 56.1 percent of the United States population celebrated in the St. patrick’s Day traditions.

Of these celebrators, 82.5 percent of the wore green, on average they spent $38 each and overall $5.3 billion was planned to spent for St. Patricks Day 2017 according to wallethub.com.

Mary Curtin can be contacted at mcurtin@kscequinox.com

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