Images of St. Patrick's Day

Like most other major holidays, the traditional, core religious reasons for observing St. Patrick's Day have been overrun by crass commercialism and secular partying. In the United States, it is a celebration of Irish-American culture in honor of the Irish Saint Patrick. But stories about the "Luck of the Irish", involving legends of leprechauns finding pots of gold at the ends of rainbows, abound. Symbols of luck, such as horseshoes and four-leaf clovers, play an important role in the storytelling too.

A popular tradition is to wear green on St. Patrick's Day to show that one has Irish ancestors or just wants to be "Irish for a day". Parades are held in major cities across the United States, and pubs and bars notoriously serve draft beer dyed green for the day. Irish beer, whiskey and coffee round out the popular drinks on this holiday, while stew, beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and cottage pie are popular food choices.

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