STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

All your burning St. Patrick's Day questions answered

Every March 17, the world suddenly looks a bit greener as people don the color to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. From shamrocks and leprechauns to corned beef and green beer, here's what you need to know about the holiday.

Posted: Mar 17, 2019 11:04 AM

(CNN) -- Every March 17, the world suddenly looks a bit greener as people don the color to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. From shamrocks and leprechauns to corned beef and green beer, here's what you need to know about the holiday.

What is St. Patrick's Day?
St. Patrick's Day is the feast day of St. Patrick, who is the patron saint of Ireland. In addition to its religious roots, the holiday has become synonymous with the color green, shamrocks and festive drinking.

Who was St. Patrick?
St. Patrick was a Christian missionary who converted the Irish people to Christianity.

He was born in Britain in 385 AD and brought to Ireland as a slave when he was 16. Six years later, he escaped to a French monastery, became a priest and returned to Ireland to spread the teachings of Christianity.

Legend says that he also drove the snakes out of Ireland. However, biologists say there were never any snakes in Ireland in the first place.

How do people celebrate?
St. Patrick's Day is primarily celebrated as a religious holiday in Ireland. Banks, stores and businesses shut down for the national holiday. Traditionally, the Irish go to church in the morning and pray for missionaries. Drinking, dancing and music are also part of the festivities later in the day.

Most of the US celebrates the occasion as a secular holiday. The first St. Patrick's Day celebration in America was held in Boston in 1737. Today, there are huge parades in New York City, Chicago and Savannah, Georgia, as well.

Although the traditional meal eaten on the holiday in Ireland is lamb or bacon, Irish-Americans eat corned beef and cabbage.

Why are there shamrocks everywhere?
Legend has it that St. Patrick used a three-leaf clover, otherwise known as a shamrock, to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to pagans. Shamrocks are also the national flower/emblem of Ireland.

Why is everything green?
The original color of St. Patrick's Day was actually blue. But over time, green won out.

The color green is a nod to Ireland's nickname, the Emerald Isle.

Wearing green on St. Patrick's Day is supposed to prevent you from getting pinched by a leprechaun. Leprechauns are tricky mythical fairies in Irish folklore who like to pinch anyone in sight. However, legend says that wearing green makes you invisible to these feisty creatures.

The color is also politically symbolic. Green is associated with the Irish nationalist movement against the English crown in the 1600s. And when Irish immigrants came to America, they wore green to show pride for their home country.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Terre Haute
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 33°
Robinson
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 35°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
35° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 29°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
31° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 31°
Casey
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 26°
Brazil
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 33°
Marshall
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 33°
Breezy & Colder
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 393797

Reported Deaths: 9889
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1811085450
DuPage23780615
Lake21373514
Will19141430
Kane17421348
Winnebago10703182
St. Clair8096221
Madison7373157
McHenry6671121
Champaign639028
Unassigned4786270
Peoria474877
McLean430138
Sangamon424863
Rock Island417393
Kankakee350581
Macon330854
Tazewell280956
Kendall279730
LaSalle255465
DeKalb246942
Coles203040
Adams200422
Boone195325
Williamson193861
Clinton182829
Vermilion181011
Jackson158426
Whiteside158430
Knox136221
Randolph131415
Ogle12717
Effingham12264
Marion110220
Stephenson10759
Franklin103310
Grundy10197
Morgan98324
Monroe97130
Bureau94817
Jefferson92052
Henry8637
Christian84629
Macoupin82911
Union79925
McDonough78920
Lee7692
Douglas7339
Shelby71512
Fayette69924
Livingston69210
Woodford67615
Crawford6636
Montgomery64416
Logan6144
Saline5969
Fulton5571
Jo Daviess5369
Warren5299
Bond5189
Iroquois51519
Wayne50914
Jersey48121
Cass46811
Perry46516
Moultrie4436
Carroll43712
Pike3887
Johnson3760
Lawrence3518
Richland34218
Washington3272
Clay32413
Hancock3214
Mason3175
Clark31417
Cumberland3086
Greene29915
Mercer2876
De Witt2756
White2744
Jasper27210
Piatt2651
Pulaski2451
Wabash2415
Ford20814
Menard1881
Marshall1663
Edgar15910
Massac1582
Alexander1361
Hamilton1352
Henderson1310
Brown1170
Edwards1140
Gallatin1102
Scott1090
Putnam980
Schuyler931
Stark923
Calhoun640
Hardin560
Pope421
Out of IL10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 169112

Reported Deaths: 4227
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26448794
Lake14804364
St. Joseph9866173
Elkhart9549145
Allen8886235
Hamilton6541119
Vanderburgh626970
Tippecanoe409816
Porter361451
Hendricks3472138
Monroe342638
Johnson3352131
Delaware318577
Clark312965
Vigo288341
Madison260797
LaPorte244165
Cass232725
Kosciusko214729
Warrick208965
Floyd190569
Howard172566
Dubois153526
Marshall152829
Bartholomew150758
Wayne149833
Grant138140
Henry137730
Boone132550
Noble127335
Hancock127144
Jackson123319
Dearborn105828
Lawrence102238
Morgan100940
Gibson96712
Clinton95216
Shelby94536
Daviess94136
Knox86110
LaGrange83115
Harrison82424
Fayette81022
DeKalb80011
Putnam78817
Posey7837
Jasper7235
Miami6985
Steuben6849
Montgomery65322
White64016
Adams6177
Greene59438
Scott56916
Decatur54739
Whitley5086
Ripley5018
Wells49011
Wabash4899
Clay4757
Sullivan47414
Starke47310
Huntington4725
Spencer4336
Orange43225
Randolph42711
Fulton4118
Jefferson4095
Perry40414
Washington3983
Jennings39613
Franklin38825
Pike36718
Fountain3563
Carroll35213
Jay3516
Vermillion2871
Tipton28623
Rush2654
Parke2644
Blackford2525
Newton24111
Owen2211
Martin2050
Pulaski1814
Crawford1661
Brown1523
Ohio1377
Union1240
Benton1130
Switzerland1030
Warren1021
Unassigned0236