History of Saint Patrick’s Day & Beer Drinking

O.J. Beer

Have you ever wondered why St. Patrick's Day goes hand in hand with beer? With the big day approaching, let us take you through the history of St. Patrick's Day!

Here are a few things we bet you never knew about St. Patrick's Day.  St. Patrick is one of the most well-known saints all over the world. Despite his close association with Irish culture and symbolism, he was not born in Ireland!

In fact, he was born in Roman Britain in the late fourth or early fifth century. As a boy,  he was sold into slavery in Ireland by Irish pirates. He spent almost 6 years there before he eventually escaped, becoming a priest and then a bishop. He then returned to Ireland where he began to convert the Irish people to Christianity and even drove all of the snakes out of Ireland, because according to the Christian Bible, they represent the devil! He is claimed to have died on March 17th, and the people of Ireland declared him a saint and celebrated him on this day.

Why is drinking alcohol a part of St. Patrick's Day?

Everyone knows that St. Patrick's Day means celebrations and drinking lots of beer in Ireland, but, why the beer? There is one historical explanation that may shed some light on the roots of the tradition. 

According to legend, St. Patrick was staying at an inn and was handed a half-full cup of whiskey. He used this as an opportunity to teach a lesson on charity. He informed the innkeeper that there was a devil living in the inn's cellar with the whiskey. St. Patrick said that this devil was the reason the innkeeper was greedy and cheated people out of their drink.

He explained that the only way the innkeeper could only redeem himself and evict the devil was if he filled everyone's cup until it overflowed. When St. Patrick returned, he discovered that the innkeeper had changed and each cup was full. It became custom to drink a full measure to commemorate the occasion. 

In addition to this, St. Patrick's Day falls right in the middle of lent, which is a 40 day period of ‘fasting’ to commemorate the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert. Nowadays, Irish people usually fast from certain foods and drinks (such as alcohol) during this 40 day period. But St. Patrick's Day falls in the middle of this Lenten period, allowing Irish Catholics to ignore their fasting and Lenten promises for one day of feasts and celebrations in honor of St. Patrick, which usually involves a lot of beer drinking.

How to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

The whole world tends to turn green on March 17th! The Irish people wear green clothing & jewellery, wear shamrock shaped pins and glasses, and even dye their rivers, food and beverages green! So, join in! The colour green represents the Irish flag, the rolling green fields of Ireland and the shamrock which St. Patricks used to teach people about the Holy Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). 

You don't have to be religious , or even Irish to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! All you need is a beer in hand (O.J. Beer  preferably!) and the willingness to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Irish culture.


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