Exploring the history of St. Patrick’s Day traditions

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, a day full of traditions such as trying to catch leprechauns or that pot of gold, attending parades or eating corned beef.

There is also a history behind the traditions and old myths.

Professor Fionnuala Regan at St. John Fisher University joins Spectrum News 1 to discuss St. Patrick’s Day history.

She says St. Patrick’s Day used to be much more of a religious holiday to mark Saint Patrick, with many attending mass and other festivities. It’s since become less of a religious celebration.

She says the U.S. actually started the tradition of parades before Ireland. And now it’s a holiday that’s become a worldwide celebration.

“It’s amazing that this patron Saint of Ireland has this one day a year where everybody want to be Irish, and everyone around the world,” Regan said. “It’s amazing this tiny country has its patron saint celebrated around the world today.”

She says when it comes to the ‘luck of the Irish,’ people have shared stories and traditions of what brings good and bad luck for centuries. 

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