What is the allure of St Patrick’s day?

March 17th is a date booked in all Dubliners’ calendars, with roots dating back to the 17th century. St Patrick’s Day has stood the test of time to become one of the most well-known days in the world, and is celebrated in more countries across the globe than any other national festival.

Although no celebration could beat that of the capital of the emerald isle, Dublin. As befitting for the home of St Patrick, Dublin will celebrate the festival of St Patrick’s over five whole days. So to understand the festivals’ allure, we take a look the traditions of shamrocks, drinking Guinness and the colour green that St Paddy’s day has become synonymous with the world over.

The Saint

Andreas F. Borchert – stained glass window at St. Benin’s Church, Ireland

St Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland who worked to spread Christianity across the country. Over time, many legends built up around him and he became Ireland’s most prominent saint. To commemorate his life and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, the day of St Paddy’s death, 17th of March, was dubbed “Feast Day” as a religious celebration. Although it wasn’t until 1903 that it became a national holiday and over time it has transformed into the international party we have come to recognise. The popular secul­ar revelry and celebrations was largely propagated by the Irish that settled in the USA, with Boston holding its first St Patrick’s day parade in 1737, and New York not long after in 1762.

The shamrock

Legend has it, St Patrick himself used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the holy trinity. The traditions associated with the shamrock on St Patrick’s Day include placing a shamrock in the bottom of a glass, filling it with alcohol and toasting the day’s namesake. To complete the tradition the shamrock must either be swallowed with the drink or thrown over the shoulder for good luck.

The colour green

Green is a customary colour associated with St Patrick’s Day and Ireland, but why? Well, it stems from the Irish Rebellion, where they wore green, but prior, the colour blue was actually associated with the Feast Day. So after 1798, as a show of solidarity with their soldiers, Ireland adopted the green, which stuck, with many attending celebrations in Dublin and across the world sporting flashes of green.

The booze

Although Feast Day saw the lifting of Lent restrictions, historically that didn’t include alcohol, which was pretty taboo until the late 1900’s. It was in fact savvy marketers at Budweiser in the 80’s whose heavy marketing push managed to convince us that no St Paddy’s day was complete without a tipple or two.

Image: Budweiser 2015 St Patrick’s Day Ad Campaign

So while people across the globe are revelling and tourists will be flooding into Dublin, IAG Cargo will be transporting goods both in and out of our Dublin hub. Our notable shipments out of Dublin include pharmaceuticals, such as treatments for AIDS and drugs to treat narcolepsy, all which need to be kept at constant temperatures throughout their journey. We’ve also moved airline seats ready to be fitted into the latest airliners, and of course copious amounts of Dublin-brewed Guinness.