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5 Things All College Students Should Do This St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day may be an official holiday in Ireland, parts of Canada, and on the island of Montserrat, AKA “the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean,” but it’s also the unofficial holiday of college students everywhere. For starters, it’s a great reason to throw a party, but cities -- and universities in those cities -- around the world also make it easy to celebrate thanks to fun traditions of their own, including everything from phenomenal parades to green-dyed rivers.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Student Tips
5 Things All College Students Should Do This St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day may be an official holiday in Ireland, parts of Canada, and on the island of Montserrat, AKA “the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean,” but it’s also the unofficial holiday of college students everywhere. For starters, it’s a great reason to throw a party, but cities -- and universities in those cities -- around the world also make it easy to celebrate thanks to fun traditions of their own, including everything from phenomenal parades to green-dyed rivers.

Still in need of some Irish-themed inspiration? Here are ways to get in on “the wearing of the green” this March 17th.

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1. Embrace your short time as a college student.

St. Patrick may be the patron saint of Ireland, but he might as well be the patron saint of college students, too. After all, when else in your life will you be able to fully revel in all of the holiday’s fun and festivities?

This quote from esteemed Irish scholar John Pentland Mahaffy is particularly applicable to students and St. Patrick’s Day, "In Ireland, the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs." Perhaps Metro puts it best with this -- albeit extreme -- example: “At uni you could be walking home from a lecture when you spot a Guinness van. ‘Is it Paddy’s Day?’ you ask each other, heading curiously towards the van. Eight hours later, you’re in a Riverdance-off and you’ve adopted an offensive Irish accent.”

In other words, college life comes with certain freedoms, and St. Patrick’s Day offers an ideal opportunity to embrace them to their fullest. And while your time in college may come and go, the memories you make -- and many are made on St. Patrick’s Day -- last forever.

Young friends having fun during celebration of st patricks day

2. Tell a few jokes.

Leprechauns are notorious pranksters, and the Irish are famous for their sense of humor. April Fool’s Day aside, aside we can think of no better occasion for learning a few sayings and telling a few jokes of your own this St. Patrick’s Day. ThoughtCo’s makes it easy to be witty thanks to its collection of Irish-themed one-liners sure to bring on the laughs -- especially after a pint or two.

Homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage with Carrots and Potatoes

3. Feast on corned beef and cabbage.

Okay, so the Irish may never have actually eaten corned beef and cabbage while in Ireland, but it’s become a huge part of the St. Patrick’s Day tradition for Irish-Americans, for whom it was readily available when they first immigrated.

If your campus dining hall isn’t serving up this hearty dish, check out local pubs and restaurants which will likely be serving up heaping portions of it. Or, try your hand at making your own with this five-star recipe from Food.com.

Old horse shoe,with clover leaf, on wooden background

4. Wear some green...or blue.

Everywhere you look -- from ski mountains to monuments and from bagels to beer -- green abounds on St. Patrick’s Day. Which begs the question: Why is this verdant hue so inextricably associated with St. Patrick’s Day? According to lore, the tradition of wearing green originated wit with American revelers in the early 1700s, who believed that wearing green would protect them from the mischievous leprechauns by turning them invisible.

Green is also the color of shamrocks and snakes -- two symbols associated with St. Patrick himself. It’s also one of the colors of Ireland’s three-color flag. And, of course, who can forget Ireland’s glorious nickname, “the Emerald Isle.”

Still, if you’re in a more authentic mood this holiday, go with blue -- which historians say was St. Patrick’s actual favorite shade. Reports Smithsonian.com, “The earliest depictions of St. Patrick show him clothed in blue garments, not green, and that when George III created a new order of chivalry for the Kingdom of Ireland, the Order of St. Patrick, its official color was a sky blue, known as "St. Patrick's Blue." Today, while green is Ireland’s national color and a symbol of identity, blue remains the official color of state.

Statue of Saint Patrick on the Hill of Tara, Ireland

5. Bone up on your St. Patrick’s Day trivia.

Sure, everyone loves joining in on the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but how many people actually know what the holiday stands for? The St. Patrick’s Day we know and love today is very different than its origins as a somber, religious holiday which observed the traditional death date of the man heralded for converting Ireland’s pagan masses to Christianity and driving the snakes out of Ireland. (Even though historians say Ireland never actually had any snakes.)

Looking for more tasty facts with which to regale your companions this March 17th? Check out HelloGiggles roundup of “10 Fun Bits of St. Patrick’s Day Trivia.”

One oft-quoted Irish saying goes, “There are only two kinds of people in the world: The Irish and those who wish they were.” The best part of St. Patrick’s Day? It gives people all over the world the chance to be Irish for a day. So wherever you are and whatever your ethnicity, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit (“Happy St. Patrick’s Day”) to you!

Joanna Hughes

Author

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.