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The Meaning Behind St. Patrick's Day

Allyson Byers

The Meaning Behind St. Patrick's Day

CREATED Mar. 17, 2013

For those of true Irish descent, St. Patricks Day is about more than drinking green beer. The holiday has some religious significance and real traditions behind it.

The St. Patricks Day celebrations here in America is very different than they were in Ireland. In Europe, the holiday is a more serious one and some Irish-Americans in Northeast Wisconsin are trying to make today about the traditions

 For Michael Murphy, his love of Irish culture and history goes beyond the holiday.

"Saint Patrick's Day is just a blip in Irish history," says Murphy of Green Bay.

He has a large collection of books on the country and celebrates the day differently than most.

"For the past 18 years the Irish band I'm a part of goes out and plays traditional Irish music, not Irish American music," Murphy says.

He may not agree with how it's celebrated today, but he's happy people are supporting the culture.

"Even though the kitschy souviniers that you find in shops are totally tasteless, at least are a recognition that the Irish are here and celebrate themselves," says Murphy.

He says the Irish are one of a kind.

"I can't think of any other group that can put hundreds or thousands of people into the streets of New York on a day or can dye the Chicago river green," he says.

In New London, which turns into New Dublin for the week, the holiday is a family affair.

"People have associated it with drinking and we try to keep away from that, because that's not really what it's about. It's about celebrating our music, our culture, our dance," says Carrie Katerzynske.

Only about 26 percent of the town is Irish, but this holiday is the biggest of the year.

"Their kids might not make it home for christmas, but they will make it home for Saint Patrick's Day," says Jill Hart of The Shamrock Club of New Dublin.

And the town is bringing tradition back...With the focus on culture.