Black Hills residents celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

DesireA� Willar, Contributing Writer

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Residents of the Black Hills and surrounding areas will be coming up to Deadwood to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the weekend of March 14.

Deadwood has been locally known as the “social hub” of holidays. Black Hills residents and those from the surrounding areas will be attending the eventful weekend.

But do people really know the history behind this lively holiday?

St. Patrick’s Day was created in remembrance of St. Patrick, whose goal was to save the Irish by converting them to Christianity as explained in nationalgeographic.com. St. Patrick himself wasn’t Irish, he was from Britain. He initially was not religious, but grew up in a wealthy, Christian home in England. He was kidnapped at 16 and taken to Ireland in A.D. 406, where he was forced into slavery. He heard a voice in his dreams convincing him to escape back to Britain to be with his family. It was after he returned to Britain that he decided to become a priest. He heard another voice in his head telling him to return to Ireland. So he did, but with the intention of converting the Irishmen from their pagan ways to Christianity. St. Patrick had many hardships in his attempts of converting the Irish. He passed away on March 17, A.D. 461 and was forgotten. He eventually became recognized as part of the history of Ireland, and was celebrated among many of their citizens. St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with small gatherings and dinners, but that was it. As the years progressed and the mythologies evolved and were brought into the United States, St. Patrick’s Day became what it is today from Irish-Americans reinventing the holiday. St. Patrick’s Day is now celebrated all over the United States.

According to cnn.com, St. Patrick’s Day has incorporated many of the Irish traditions and customs. The three-leaf clover, or shamrock, is pertinent to the Irish culture because St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity. Wearing the color green is important because it represents the flag of Ireland. Eating cabbage and bacon is typical on this holiday in Ireland, but the Irish-Americans also incorporated corned beef. The idea of the “leprechauna�� is used in relation to the holiday because it dates back to the initial pagan beliefs of the Irish as supernatural creatures were a part of their culture at the time. Nationalgeographic.com states that the amount of Guinness consumed is more than doubled during this holiday. Guinness was introduced into the United States from Irish immigrants.

Josie Derr, a Human Services and Sociology major at BHSU states that the Irish culture is very important to her because of her Irish upbringing. The Celtic love knot is an important symbol for her representing love among friends and family. The arrowhead is another one of her favorite symbols because it represents protection, as it was commonly seen on Irish war shields.

Many of these traditions will be seen in Deadwood during the eventful weekend. According to deadwood.com, there is an expected 1,200 people to be participating in the events of the Pub Crawl, Leprechaun Olympics, and for the St. Paddy’s Poker Run. There is also a parade and a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society expected this weekend as well.

Lindsay Mader, a photography major at BHSU, loves celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

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