Straying away from religious roots on St. Patrick’s Day

Aaron Vyletel '21, Staff Writer

St. Patrick’s day is a holiday that has been celebrated for over a thousand years, based on the Christian religion. The celebration has started to lose its traditions and become modernized, as its original intent was to celebrate the life of Saint Patrick and the arrival of the church of Ireland.

Many customs and traditions have changed over time and strayed away from religious roots. For instance, the clover was originally a three-leafed clover to represent the holy trinity but has since been changed to four leaves. Many of these changes were created during the Irish diaspora.

Many of the churches who recognized St. Patrick’s day banned alcohol throughout the year except on the holiday. As this may be a reason for the excessive alcohol consumption on March 17.

Different regions and cultures celebrate the holiday in different ways including parades, feasts and parties. America, in particular, has taken the party aspect to the fullest and has lost the true meaning of the holiday, with clothing honoring the holiday and restaurants dressed in Irish themed decor.

The holiday has been celebrated in North America since the late 18th century. Irish immigrants started the holiday to celebrate their history and culture. Slowly it became more popular and recognized around the entire country, losing its roots. Recently, however, the Irish government has set out around the world to promote the celebration of St. Patrick’s day in order to promote tourism in Ireland, bringing the core of the holiday back to where it began.

Not only do many people believe the holiday has become too commercialized and tacky, but it also emphasizes many stereotypes of Irish people. This includes the popular custom of dressing as a leprechaun. There have been attempts by the Irish government to cancel out these degrading St Patrick’s day customs.

The Christian holiday has also been adopted into many schools. It has become a part of different curriculums at a young age. There has been a push by many parents and groups to fix this issue, as they believe it should be taught in schools but not celebrated. St. Patrick’s day is taught and celebrated in the Grosse Pointe Public School System in elementary school. The holiday is celebrated at school not for the religious background but for fun and to learn about Irish culture. Although there are arguments on why it should not be celebrated, at the end of the day it is harmless and should be taken light-hearted.

Overall, the original meaning of St. Patrick’s day has morphed over the years. The religious meaning has been taken away and St. Patrick’s day has changed into more of a holiday surrounded by green four leaf clovers on necklaces. Public schools seem to want to continue celebrating the religious holiday despite the fact that they are public schools.