Happy March! March is a fun month; the weather starts to get warmer, there is more daylight, and we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day started as a religious holiday in Ireland. It celebrated the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Interestingly, St. Patrick was not Irish, being born in Britain. He first came to Ireland as a slave and then returned to do missionary work. March 17th is his feast day as it is believed to be the day he died.

Here are some traditions that go hand in hand with the day.

Chicago River

Each year, the Chicago river is dyed green. This tradition was started by the Butler and Rowan families and has been going on for over 50 years!

The Snake

Legend has it that St. Patrick once stood on a hill in Ireland and banished all snakes from the country. This was a metaphor for the embracing of Christianity and the rejection (banning) of pagan ideology.


One way that children celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is by setting a leprechaun trap. We have fond memories of setting traps that were dismantled the next day with traces of green glitter and the gold bribe gone. Leprechauns became associated with the holiday because of Irish folklore. In Irish folklore they were cranky and tricky, always guarding their treasure. Now they are associated to rainbows and gold pots and sugary cereal.


In Christianity, St. Patrick is closely linked to the three-leaf clover. Legend says that he used it to teach people about the Holy Trinity, using it to illustrate the notion of three in one. As Ireland was taken over by the English, people started wearing the shamrock to show a symbol of their heritage.


Guinness has become the drink of choice when celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Guinness is consumed in millions of pints by both the Irish and Americans.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Just as Guinness is the drink of choice for St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef and cabbage is the dish of choice. Corned beef and cabbage was popular because it’s an affordable meal. At the time Irish Americans could not afford much and corned beef was a cheaper option.

Whether you have Irish roots or not, you can partake in St. Patrick’s Day in any or all of these ways! Wear your greenest outfit, have a beer, and enjoy some corned beef. From all of us at Sterling Dental Center, have a safe and fun holiday!