St. Patrick’s Day and Drinking: Why?

Whether you have Irish heritage or not, you most likely know the things most associated with St. Patrick’s Day: Leprechauns, shamrocks, the color green, and drinking. 

But why has the Irish holiday, one originally meant as a day of remembrance of St. Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland, become so closely associated with alcohol? An old Irish legend suggests that the anniversary of St. Patrick’s Death, March 17, was a day of remembrance where Christians were allowed to indulge and food and drink restrictions set by the Lent tradition. This indulgence has evolved into the St. Patrick’s Day that is so widely celebrated today.

Nowadays, those who celebrate annually on March 17th don their favorite green attire, attend parades and grab alcoholic drinks with their friends to celebrate Irish culture. However, this isn’t a healthy choice for everyone and it’s important to recognize the dangers of alcohol and binge drinking on this holiday.

Binge drinking is excess drinking that brings an individual’s blood alcohol concentration to .08 percent or higher; this is considered five or more drinks in two hours for men and four or more drinks for women within two hours (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

Binge Drinking Dangers

  • Unintentional injuries (e.g., car crashes, falls, burns, drowning)
  • Intentional injuries (e.g., firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological damage
  • Source: CDC

Make healthy choices for yourself this St. Patrick’s Day and stay safe!