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Erin Go Bragh: How St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Were Shaped by Marketing

March 17, 2017

By Amanda Zantal-Wiener

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In Boston, just across the river from HubSpot’s headquarters, St. Patrick’s Day is kind of a big deal. There’s a parade. There’s a special breakfast for the who’s-who of local government. There are green bagels. And there’s a lot of beer.

We like to think of that as a very traditionally Bostonian way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. And we’re not alone — in Chicago, for example, they dye the river green. But we’ve got news. That word, “tradition”? We hate to break it to you, but today’s celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day are, well, far from traditional.

And like so many other holidays, the modern perspective and observance of St. Patrick’s Day was shaped in some part by — you guessed it — marketing. But what did it used to look like, and how did it get to where it is today? Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar  template.

Grab your four-leaf clover, because you’re in luck. (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.) We’re taking you on a trip back in time to figure out just where St. Patrick’s Day began.

How St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations Were Shaped by Marketing

Who Was Saint Patrick, and Why Do We Celebrate Him?

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Source: History.com

The Man

To really trace the roots of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s important to understand its name. Yes, it’s named for a person — Saint Patrick himself — who actually wasn’t even of Irish descent. According to History.com, he was actually born in 390 A.D., in Britain to a Christian deacon father. It’s rumored that he assumed that role for its tax incentives, and not for religious reasons. In fact, some speculate that Saint Patrick wasn’t raised with much religion at all.

Interestingly enough, it was being kidnapped in his teen years and held captive by Irish raiders that began Saint Patrick’s journey to, well, sainthood. Much of that captivity was spent in isolation from other people, which allegedly caused Patrick to turn to spiritual thoughts for guidance and comfort. After six years as a prisoner, he escaped back to Britain, and eventually studied to become a priest.

After he was ordained, he was sent on a mission back to Ireland to begin spreading and converting the population to Christianity. And according to National Geographic, it didn’t go so well — “he was constantly beaten by thugs, harassed by the Irish royalty, and admonished by his British superiors,” and he was “largely forgotten” after his death in 461 A.D., which is estimated to have taken place on March 17, the day observed as St. Patrick’s Day.

The Myth

But later, people started to create folklore around Saint Patrick. It’s not clear when these legends came to fruition, but you might be familiar with some of them — tales of him banishing all snakes from Ireland, for …read more

Source:: HubSpot Blog

      

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