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Most St. Patrick's Day Traditions Are Uniquely American

Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

Guests at de Vere's Irish Pub eating corned beef and cabbage, and drinking Guinness in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

It's the busiest day of the year at de Vere's Irish pub in downtown Sacramento.

But, co-owner, Simon de Vere White, winces when asked if the restaurant is serving green beer.

"It's really kind of faux American Irish," says de Vere White.

He says the original settlers who arrived from Ireland on the East Coast created today's holiday to honor their heritage.

In fact the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York City, not in Dublin, in 1762.

"Back home in Ireland, they'll never pour you a pint of green beer," says de Vere White. "They'll never put a shamrock on the head of your Guinness. We don't have leprechauns. We don't have pots of gold or Irish flags. Nothing is green."

The traditional St. Paddy’s meal—corned beef and cabbage—is no more authentic.

The dish is on the menu at de Vere's as a "special" today. But, shepherd's pie, lamb stew, and bangers and mash are much more traditional staples that are always available.

De Vere White says the most Irish part of today is gathering at a local pub to enjoy a pint with friends.

"The original pub is basically where people would open up their living room doors to people who come in for drink," he says.

At the bar a line of customers enjoy tall pints of Guinness.

For more information about St. Patrick's day events.