Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Kimberlee Johnson
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the festivals observed by the widest variety of people, and it is not unusual to find celebrants indulging in alcoholic beverages such as beer or whiskey.
But why is St. Patrick’s Day a drinking holiday?
From ancient pagan celebrations to Irish immigration in America, we’ll uncover the fascinating history behind this popular holiday. Read on.
Why Is St. Patrick’s Day Considered A Drinking Holiday?
First, the holiday is often seen as a celebration of Irish culture and heritage, and drinking is a common part of Irish culture.
On St. Patrick’s day, many people will go to bars , pubs, and restaurants to celebrate with a beer or an Irish stout.
Second, centuries ago, St. Patrick’s day was initially celebrated in Ireland with religious services and the ‘drowning of the shamrock’ – a custom of putting a shamrock in the bottom of a cup, filling the cup with whiskey, and then drinking it.
This was done to celebrate St. Patrick, as it was believed that the shamrock was a symbol of the Holy Trinity.
And finally, the holiday provided an opportunity for Irish Catholics to take a break from the observance of Lent.
During the lent season, Catholics must do the fasting, which means they are prohibited from eating meat or drinking alcohol.
However, Irish Catholics break off the tradition in Ireland by consuming an alcoholic drink but only on St. Patrick’s day.
Thus, it distinguishes the St. Patrick’s Day festival from other religious celebrations and is why many people in Ireland look forward to it.
What Drinks Should You Have On St. Patrick’s Day?
While beer is often the traditional drink of choice, there are several other beverages to enjoy on this special day.
“Alcohol removes inhibitions – like that scared little mouse who got drunk and shook his whiskers and shouted: “Now bring on that damn cat!”– Eleanor Early, Author
Irish Coffee  is a common beverage consumed on St. Patrick’s Day. This classic cocktail is made with Irish whiskey, freshly brewed coffee, and a dollop of whipped cream.
For a non-alcoholic option, try the Shamrock Shake, a minty-green milkshake made with vanilla ice cream and flavored syrup.
But if you’re looking for something sweeter, an old-school Irish cream liqueur like Baileys is always a good call.
Find out if Dunkin’ Donuts has special St. Patrick’s donuts here.
How To Keep From Getting Drunk On St. Patrick’s Day
1. Drink plenty of water between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated.
2. Eating a good meal before and throughout the day will slow down the absorption of alcohol.
3. Set a limit for yourself and stick to it. Avoid excessive drinking.
4. Drink low-alcohol beverages. Alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic beverages can slow down the rate of alcohol consumption.
5. Give yourself breaks from drinking, such as dancing or socializing, to give your body a chance to recover.
6. Avoid drinking shots. The shots can quickly increase your alcohol level and are best avoided.
7. Have a designated driver or plan for a safe ride home. Never risk your life behind the wheel after drinking; make sure you have a secure means to get home.
8. Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had and monitor your level of intoxication.
9. Surround yourself with responsible people. Choose friends who will look out for you and make good decisions.
10. Don’t force yourself to drink. It’s okay to say no to alcohol; doing so will help you stay in control and avoid getting drunk.
What Are Non-alcoholic Beverages For St. Patrick’s Day?
A wide variety of tasty and unique drinks are available to tantalize the taste buds while enjoying the holiday.
From green-tinted juices to minty mocktails, there is something everyone can enjoy.
For a classic nod to the holiday, consider serving a green-hued punch, like a minty limeade, that all can enjoy.
Alternatively, a creamy milkshake or smoothie with a hint of green food coloring is an excellent option for a kid-friendly treat.
These drinks can be made with various ingredients like fruits, herbs, spices, and syrups.
Hence, these drinks provide a festive and flavorful way to enjoy the holiday without the risks associated with alcohol.
What Do You Do On St. Patrick’s Day If You Don’t Drink?
Attending local parades, festivals, or activities can be fun to spend the occasion without consuming alcohol.
Many cities host parades, carnivals, and other activities to mark St. Patrick’s Day.
Second, you can spend the day with friends or family, cook traditional Irish dishes, or participate in fun activities like going to the movies or playing board games.
Lastly, St. Patrick’s Day is an excellent opportunity to learn more about Irish culture and history. You can read books about Ireland or visit a local museum to learn more about the country’s past.
Was St. Patrick’s Day once a dry holiday?
Yes, St. Patrick’s Day was once a dry holiday in Ireland and still is in some parts of the country.
The Catholic Church declared St. Patrick’s Day was a dry holiday from 1903 until 1970, making it illegal to buy or consume alcohol on holiday.
Which countries allow drinking at any age?
Some countries, such as Russia, Denmark, and Armenia, allow drinking at any age, although no laws are associated with it. However, the legal drinking age in most countries is 18 or 21 years old.
What is Ireland’s national drink?
Ireland’s national drink is Guinness, a dark stout beer made from roasted barley, hops, and yeast.
It is considered among the most popular beers in the world and has a significant connection to the culture and history of Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that has become synonymous with drinking and merriment.
From its origins as a religious feast day to its current status as a drinking holiday, it is clear that this day has been embraced by the Irish and many others worldwide as a day to enjoy and celebrate.
Whether toasting with a pint of Guinness or trying a new Irish whiskey, St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to enjoy a favorite libation and celebrate the culture and spirit of the Irish.
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