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St. Patrick’s Day 2021 and how it has evolved over the years

While St. Patrick’s day traditionally has been about celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick, the holiday has evolved into a day of parties and celebrations. 

These celebrations are an all-day experience, especially here in the Quad Cities. Usually, Davenport has a St. Patrick’s parade downtown, and there is typically a lot of day drinking. But alas the pandemic has potentially put a halt on these festivities. 

It is unsure if the parade will happen this year and many bars around Davenport have to follow social distancing guidelines and limit the number of people gathering. 

St. Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of St. Patrick, has been celebrated annually on March 17th which is the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death. For over 1,000 years, the Irish have observed this holiday which falls during the Christian season of Lent. 

Traditionally, Irish families would attend church in the morning and later celebrate in the afternoon with dancing, drinking and feasting on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. Some families continue this kind of tradition to this day, and that is the case for St. Ambrose student Elizabeth Vaninger.

“Every year on St. Patrick’s Day my family has a traditional Irish meal of corn beef and cabbage,” Vaninger said. “And I look forward to it every year.”

Throughout the years this holiday started off as celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick, and the first-ever parade took place in 1601 in surprisingly America, not Ireland. Centuries later, there are many parades all over the world celebrating this holiday. The most well-known ones take place in New York, Chicago and Boston. 

Clearly, as the years went on there have been new traditions all over the world. One that is very well known around here in the midwest is dyeing the Chicago River green. There are many students here at Ambrose from the Chicago area who have seen this in person, and Lauren Koutouzis is one of them.

“Turning the river green is one of my favorite things about this holiday and it is such a unique part of Chicago tradition and history,” Koutouzis said. “The celebrations were canceled last year due to the pandemic so I would not be shocked if they called it off again this year.”

This practice started in 1962 when the city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate this holiday. 

Though partaking in St. Patrick’s Day festivities might be difficult, you can still dress in your best green attire, leprechaun headwear or large shamrock-shaped glasses.