Local News

Mar 18, 2010 2:19 PM by Ariel Wesler

A wee bit o' St. Patty's Day history

Irish pubs throughout the Central Coast are hosting big celebrations tonight in honor of Saint Patrick's Day.

Green beer...as american as you can get, but behind all the drinking and decorations, there is a history.

While you're swilling green beer, keep in mind the St. Patrick's Day history runs deeper than your beer mug.

"I honestly. I don't know what the history is. It's always been just a good time with friends," said Christine Haas of Santa Maria.

It began in the 1600s as a purely Catholic feast day, marking the death of Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland during the 5th century.

"St. Patrick is buried like 10 miles from my town, so to be honest we don't celebrate it that much, so when I come here and it's completely mad, even to come to an Irish pub is quite funny," said Dean McKillen, visiting from Ireland.

"Well, I know St. Patrick wasn't from Ireland," said James Meager, Sr. of Santa Maria.

That's true. He was born in Britain and came back to Ireland to convert the early Pagans to Christianity. According to legend, St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the holy trinity.

Corned beef and cabbage is an Irish-American tradition started by immigrants in the 19th century because beef was cheaper and easier to get than pork.

"We're seeing more people drinking Guiness and Smithwicks and Murphy's and they're staying away from green beer," said Josh Snow, owner of O'Sullivan's in Santa Maria.

Commercialized or not. . .Santa Maria residents have their own traditions.

"I've been coming down here for 21 years and I've only missed three St. Patty's day, so this is like my home," said Roger Cheathma of Santa Maria.

A home sure to be filled to the brim.

The first Saint Patrick's Day parade was actually held in Boston in 17-37. Ireland did not have one until 19-31.


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