St. Patrick's Day is an Irish national holiday celebrating Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Legend holds that Patrick converted the pagan Irish to Christianity in the 5th century, in part by using the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.
The holiday, Lá Fhéile Pádraig in the Irish language, falls on March 17th, the date of Patrick's death and his feast day on the Catholic calendar. St. Patrick's Day is now celebrated in many countries with large historical Irish emigrant populations around the world.
Parades down main streets and boulevards are one of the highlights of many St. Patrick's Day celebrations. But perhaps the most popular part of the day for many comes in the evening. Pubs and bars fill with lucky, green-clad patrons. Revelers down ample pints of Guiness and Harp, some of it dyed bright green.
Popular St. Paddy's Day foods include Irish stew, soda bread and colcannon. Corned beef and cabbage, not all that popular in Ireland itself, is strongly associated with St. Patrick's Day in the United States.