By: Megan Bell

St. Patrick was a priest who spent his life converting the Irish to Christianity. He used the three-leafed shamrock to describe the theory of the Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Legend says he put the curse of God on all the venomous snakes in Ireland and led them to the water where they drowned.

When St. Patrick died on March 17, A.D. 461, his followers decided to observe the day every year with a feast and mass to remember his life and legacy. It was an insignificant religious holiday in Ireland until the 1970s.

Irish immigrants brought the holiday to America where it was soon adopted and transformed into an extravagant celebration for the Irish and Irish-at-heart. Many people today consume corn beef and cabbage on the day to remember the Irish Americans who were so poor they could only afford those foods for their feast.

The “green” tradition on March 17 came about for several reasons, including the shamrock, Ireland’s flag (nicknamed the “Emerald Isle”) and, of course, spring. America created a legend which claims if you don’t wear green, you’ll be visible to leprechauns and they will pinch you. Because everyone knows wearing green hides you from leprechauns.

In 1910, the First Avenue Bar in Spokane, Wash., served the first green beer to patriotic Irishmen and any others who wanted the festive brew. Chicago city officials decided to introduce the soon-to-be tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green in 1962.

St. Patrick’s Day has changed dramatically over the years and is now celebrated globally. The holiday is best recognized by the over-21 crowd with parades and pub crawls.

AAA Oklahoma will be providing its free “Tipsy Tow” service to all motorists who drink and need a ride within 15 miles of their location. The service will be available in Lawton, Ardmore, Enid, Tahlequah, Shawnee, Muskogee and Bartlesville, as well as in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas, from 6 p.m. Monday, March 16 until 4 a.m. Wednesday March 18. AAA will only take the vehicle and up to two people to the destination.

**To call for Tipsy Tow, dial 800-AAA-HELP (222-4357) and ask for Tipsy Tow.**

Have a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day!

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