With St. Patrick's day right around the corner, you may be adding corned beef and cabbage to your shopping list and making sure your green outfit and ready. Or perhaps you are staking our your claim for a primo spot at nearby Savannah’s St. Patrick’s parade. How did such traditions come about? You’ll be surprised…


St. Patrick
Believe it or not, St. Patrick was not Irish. He was born in Britain and kidnapped by Irish pirates when he was 16. He then worked as a slave for 17 years in Ireland until he was able to escape back to Britain. However, he returned to Ireland later as a missionary to bring Christianity to the people.

The holiday
The Irish had typically celebrated St. Patrick's day on March 17th (the anniversary date of St. Patrick’s death) by praying for missionaries and celebrating with a large meal. The St. Patrick's day we now celebrate in the US is more about national pride.

Shamrock
As a missionary, the shamrock’s three leaves helped St. Patrick explain the Christian holy trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the people of Ireland. The traditional shamrock also symbolized the rebirth of spring, which later fueled the idea of wearing green clothing to celebrate the holiday. Believe it or not, shamrocks don’t exist. We know them to actually be clover. As you know, finding a four-leaf clover represents good luck. But you’ll need luck finding one — your chances are 1 in 10,000.

Green
St. Patrick's day, the religious holiday, used to be celebrated with all things blue. As it transitioned to being more of a celebration of Ireland’s history, so did the color, from blue to green, which better represented shamrock as well as the “Emerald Isle” of Ireland.

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Cabbage, a cheap spring vegetable, is traditionally Irish, but alas, corned beef is not. During Ireland’s potato famine, many of the Irish immigrated to the US with most. ending up in New York City. Money was tight, so the Irish immigrants replaced their traditional boiled Irish bacon (which was actually closer to a pork loin) with corned beef. They learned about the alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

Drinking
In Ireland, St. Patrick's day was a dry holiday until the law was overturned in 1970. It was done at that point to help boost. Ireland’s springtime tourism. It’s also interesting to note that Irish-American Catholics were sometimes required to fast. from drinking during Lent. However, on St. Patrick's Day, they were allowed to break this fast. — and likely the cause for the day's association with drinking heavily.

Guinness
About 13 million pints of the Irish stout, Guinness are consumed on St. Patrick's Day. Most see the beverage to be black or dark brown in color, but it is actually a dark ruby red. Want to know how to perfectly pour your Guinness? Tilt the glass at 45 degrees when pouring until it is three-quarters full, then let the beer settle before filling the rest of glass.

Parades
New York City hosted the first St. Patrick's Day parade in 1762, when Irish soldiers marched through the streets to reconnect with their roots. Georgia’s first city, Savannah, has been hosting a St. Patrick’s Day parade since 1813. Today, The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Savannah is the second largest in the U.S., right behind New York. Savannah celebrates the holiday during the entire month of March, which is why it one of the most. popular times to visit. The parade and festivities draw over 300,000 people each year.

Greening of waterways
Many cities dye their waterways green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Chicago is renown for this. In fact, Michelle Obama, a native of Chicago, has been dying the fountain on the south green lawn at the Whitehouse since 2009. Savannah attempted green it’s river in in 1961, but the results were disappointing, as most of the green dye was quickly swept out to sea. Today, they dye the water green at the fountain at Forsyth Park instead.

Events
If you want to get in the Irish spirit a little closer to home, come enjoy our wonderful St. Patrick’s Day dinner and DJ, starting at 5pm at the clubhouse restaurant. Or check out the Willis Clan coming to the Oconee Performing Arts Society on March 16th. But with Savannah being fairly close by, you may want to take advantage of some bigger the festivities. The St Patricks Day Parade is on March 17th at 10:15am, rain or shine. The Festival runs from March 17th to March 19th and is located on River Street and in City Market.

During an St. Patrick's Day event earlier this month in Savannah, First District U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter offered his thoughts on the celebration. He said, “On St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all Irish. It’s such a special day because of the tradition. It’s such a special day because of the pride that we take in it. St. Patrick’s day is about family. It’s about friends, and community.” To us, that sounds just like Harbor Club, doesn’t it? Happy St. Patrick’s Day!