By Jim Miller
Today lots of people will try to skip out of work early to grab a pint of Guinness at a bar or perhaps find something green to wear whether they are Irish or not. St. Patrick’s Day, for most of us, is just a fun day to party, watch a parade, or listen to some Irish music. For better or worse, even if we aren’t getting drunk, we don’t think that much about it. Nonetheless, there are still some interesting bits of history behind the holiday.
The actual origins of the “Wearing of the Green” are political, dating back to 1798 when Irish soldiers wore green uniforms on March 17th to signal solidarity with the Society of United Irishmen whose aim it was to end British rule in Ireland. That’s when the song and the color green became synonymous with both rebellion and St. Patrick’s Day.
Before that in the United States, the first official St. Patrick’s Day came to be when George Washington proclaimed the holiday as a way to thank Irish soldiers fighting for the cause of American Independence in 1780. But there were celebrations before that in the United States dating back to as early as 1756 when the first St. Patty’s bash was held at the Crown and Thistle tavern in New York City.