St. Patrick’s Day

WHISK Ambassador and Senior Nutrition Student Shannon Vo shares the history of St. Patrick’s Day (celebrated on March 17th) in Ireland and the U.S, along with recipes for classic Irish recipes. 

Holiday History

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday originating from Ireland that is celebrated on the 17th of March. The holiday honors Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who is said to have brought Christianity to the country. The day of the celebration is supposedly the date of his death.

Stained glass picture showing Saint Patrick. Image from Catholic Online

St. Patrick’s Day in the US is representative of pride in Irish heritage and culture. The US has had a long history of Irish immigration, with the biggest wave of immigrants coming from Ireland during the Great Potato Famine in the 1800s. These immigrants first brought the St. Patrick’s Day holiday to this country, where it first became popular during the 19th century. Today, there are about 32 million people living in the US who have Irish heritage, and the holiday is widely celebrated throughout the land.

The holiday in Ireland

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a holy day; a solemn, religious event where people attend church to observe. They also spend time with their families and have a feast at home on this day. To celebrate, people might wear shamrocks, a symbol of the holiday. According to legend, when Saint Patrick was a missionary in Ireland, he had used a 3-leaf clover to tell the local people about the Christian trinity.

The holiday in the U.S.

Across the country, there are elaborate parties, festivals, and parades held on St. Patrick’s Day. They are especially big in cities with large Irish populations, like New York City, Boston, Savannah, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago. A popular holiday custom is the wearing of green attire, because green is the color associated with Ireland and Irish nationalism.  Children often pinch anyone not wearing green as a holiday game.

The Chicago River dyed green during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Image from

Holiday Foods

Image from CatholicCuisineblogspot

The dishes associated with the holiday include corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, colcannon, and foods and drinks that are colored green. To learn to make a few of these, see the recipes and videos below.

St Patrick’s Day recipes:

Irish soda bread and colcannon recipes by WHISK Ambassador Hamed Safi. Videos by WHISK Ambassadors Claire Satterwhite and Lyndale Sy.

  • Watch a short video by senior nutrition student, Claire Satterwhite, and learn how to make traditional Irish Soda Bread:

  • Watch a short video by senior nutrition student, Lyndale Rose Sy on how to prepare Colcannon, a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with cabbage:

  • For a cooking demonstration on shepherd’s pie, visit CHEW’S Instagram page: @CHEW_SJSU
  • For a vegetarian shepherd’s pie, visit WHISK’s Instagram page: @WHISK_SJSU

Blog Post by Shannon Vo, Senior Nutrition Student and WHISK Ambassador


1. Fan, Michele. 2018 March 15. Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland vs the US. Retrieved from

2. St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland vs the United States. Retrieved from

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