The right way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: Savannah style

Fortunately for College of Charleston students, we do not have to travel very far in order to properly celebrate good ole’ St. Patrick. This year marks 191 years since Savannah, Ga. began to celebrate the Irish holiday.

Photo by Kate Power.

People adorning their celebratory green walk up and down River Street in Savannah on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s day. (Photo by Kate Power)

With each passing year, St. Patrick’s Day becomes increasingly more secular, according to St. Patty’s has evolved over time from the historically significant day that St. Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland to simply a celebration of everything and anything Irish. Now the holiday attracts thousands of Americans (Irish, Catholic and anything in between).

It’s not exactly a mystery as to why college students notoriously cherish this holiday – it gives us a valid excuse to consume copious amounts of alcohol on whatever day of the week March 17 happens to fall. Celebrations actually begin days before the holiday itself; Savannah’s festivities this year commenced on March 14, the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day and the day most CofC students ventured into the city. The most popular mode of transportation appeared to be by bus as various groups of students, fraternities and sororities took it upon themselves to rent buses, convenient for being able to drink and travel to and from Savannah safely in one day.

It may or may not be too shocking to discover that most college students actually do not know the real reason behind their passionate celebrations of St. Patrick. Freshman Katie Wilson assumes it must be some sort of celebration of Irish heritage, and while junior Rachel Hackett knows it must be about this St. Patrick figure, neither of them have too much knowledge extending beyond that. This sort of ambiguous response seems to be the popular answer among students.

Photo by Kate Power.

A crowd gathers around one of the many stages, in one of the many parks, to watch an Irish dancing performance. (Photo by Kate Power)

 “I personally celebrate because it’s a whole day of acceptable drinking,” junior Tom Welles unashamedly stated. When asked to describe his day in Savannah using one word, Welles’ response: blackout. He obviously didn’t mind when a street dancer by the Savannah River pulled him aside, giving him the stage to do his thing in front of everybody to the tune of Uptown Funk.

Savannah anxiously awaits his return next year.

The city’s open container law contributes largely to its success year after year. To CofC students in particular, this law provides immense relief coming from King Street. Though many students go to drink, not everyone does. Wilson’s two best friends from high school were visiting her for the weekend and instead of participating in the madness, they spent the day exploring the city of Savannah, taking pictures and embracing their surroundings. “The three of us went off from the big group and chose to experience Savannah for ourselves, which made it a really memorable experience,” Wilson said. Her one word to sum up the day: magical. She and her friends discovered a peaceful, shaded fountain area on the outskirts of the masses and fell in love with Savannah through the lens of outsiders. “I think we had the best perspective,” Wilson said.

Katie Wilson and her two friends from New Jersey explore Savannah on their own. (Photo by Kate Power).

Katie Wilson and her two friends from New Jersey explore Savannah on their own. (Photo by Kate Power)

Freshman Cat Scudder described Savannah differently: LOST. She says she must have gotten lost somewhere between the third live band and twentieth food kiosk, or maybe in the crowd of people gathered in massive clumps up and down the Savannah River. At least she didn’t fall in – more than some CofC students can say for themselves. Not naming any names here. Despite getting lost, Scudder had an amazing time celebrating. (It actually resulted in her running into a friend from home – which, according to Scudder, was “such a sweet surprise to see a familiar face all the way from Maryland.”)

It’s safe to say everyone experiences Savannah a little differently on St. Patty’s Day, but according to the overall consensus, a good time was had by all. Whether students chose to get lost in the crowds of people, explore the city or, well, blackout, everyone celebrated St. Patrick in some way or another – even though no one really knew why they were celebrating. A celebration is a celebration and college students are not the type to shy away from a good time, especially when it involves a trip to beautiful Savannah.

A view of the Savannah River, the area of the city where most CofC students spent their day. (Photo by Kate Power)

A view of the Savannah River, the area of the city where most CofC students spent their day. (Photo by Kate Power)







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