Saint Patrick's Day

English Vocabulary

Saint Patrick's Day English Vocabulary

Who was Saint Patrick?

Patrick was born at the end of the fourth century in Britain. When he was 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. He spent six years there before escaping back home and became a priest. Later Patrick returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. According to legend, Saint Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to them. He spent many years converting the Pagans which eventually turned in to an allegory in which he drove all of the “snakes” out of Ireland. (Note: Ireland has never had any snakes)

Patrick died on the 17th of March and over the following centuries, many legends grew around Patrick which eventually led him to becoming a saint.



Saint Patrick’s Day Vocabulary

A list of typical words associated with Saint Patrick's Day:

cabbage: (noun) a green vegetable consisting of thick leaves in a spherical shape.
dance: (verb) to move rhythmically to music, typically following a sequence of steps or moves.
emerald: (noun) a green precious stone. Ireland is sometimes called the Emerald Isle.
flag: (noun) a rectangular design used as a symbol or emblem of a country or institution and used as decoration during festivities.
fiddle: (noun) a violin, especially when used to play folk music.
four-leaf clover: (noun) a clover leaf with four leaves instead of the typical three. They are thought to bring good luck.
gold: (noun) a precious metal that is yellow in color.
green: (adjective) a color (grass is green)
harp: (noun) a triangular-shaped musical instrument that has many parallel strings that are plucked to make sound.
Ireland: (noun) the common name of the country called the Republic of Ireland
Irish: (adjective) the nationality of a person from Ireland; from Ireland or relating to it.
legend: (noun) a traditional story that is sometimes regarded as historical buy is unauthenticated.
leprechaun: (noun) a small, mischievous creature from Irish folklore.
limerick: (noun) a humorous verse of three long and two short lines
luck: (noun) success or failure supposedly brought by chance rather than through your own actions.
March: (noun) the third month of the year
music: (noun) vocal and/or instrumental sounds combined to form harmony.
parade: (noun) a public procession, especially one celebrating a special day or event.
pinch: (verb) when you squeeze someone’s skin between your index finger and thumb.
pot of gold: (noun) a large but distant or imaginary reward. It is said that there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
potato: (noun) a starchy vegetable that grows in the ground. It is a common part of Irish meals.
rainbow: (noun) an arch of colors formed in the sky, typically when there are showers and sun.
saint: (noun) a person acknowledged as being holy or virtuous
Saint Patrick: The patron saint of Ireland
shamrock: (noun) a clover-like plant with three leaves, used as the national emblem of Ireland
snake: (noun) a long reptile without legs; serpent
Tradition: (noun) the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation

Saint Patrick's Day Celebrations

On St. Patrick's Day, it is customary to wear green clothing and accessories (green is the national color of Ireland). There are many colorful parades around Ireland and other parts of the world and many important buildings are lit with green lighting at night to celebrate the day. In Ireland, a St. Patrick's Festival lasts for around five days which showcases Ireland and its culture with concerts, outdoor theater performances and fireworks.

The largest Saint Patrick's Day parade in the world is held in New York (USA) with around 150,000 participants each time. Also in the United States, the north White House fountain has been dyed green for Saint Patrick's Day every year since 2009. The Chicago River is also dyed green on this day.



Why do people pinch on Saint Patrick’s Day?

If you don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day then someone may pinch you… or so some people say. You will be interested to know that this is in fact an American tradition, not an Irish one. I confirmed my doubts after asking many people from Ireland and they say they had never heard of this or done it themselves. But why is it done in the US? Supposedly leprechauns pinch people that don’t wear green on the 17th of March.

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