Children celebrating St. Patrick's DayDr. Stephen Lockwood and our La Jolla staff hope that you’re setting your green clothing aside for St. Patrick’s Day, because the day is fast rolling upon San Diego and it’s time to get ready for the upcoming festivities. There’s certainly much to look forward to, including the well-known annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade that’ll take place on the edge of Balboa Park on Saturday the 14th. In the spirit of the holiday, we’ll spend some time today briefly exploring the history and meaning of St. Patrick’s Day and then we’ll share some of the events that our staff is looking forward to the most.

Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated depends on who you ask. The historic raison d’etre of the holiday is to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick was actually not Irish, but British, living in what was then a province of the Roman Empire. He was, at one point, kidnapped by raiders living in Ireland, where he was taken to as a slave. He eventually escaped, but later on in life — and this is what eventually earned him his sainthood — he returned to Ireland to start converting the local population from paganism to Catholicism. March 17th is a celebration of St. Patrick on the day of his head.

The holiday has grown into much more than a celebration of St. Patrick himself, however. In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has turned into a celebration of Ireland and her culture. Indeed, the tradition of wearing something green, once a symbol of Irish nationalism, is a testament to the international respect for Irish culture. Of course, some probably celebrate March 17th just for the sake of celebrating it, too, but we can’t blame someone for trying to have some fun!

What to do on St. Patrick’s Day?

What’s there to do on and around March 17th you ask? The common answer seems to be visiting one of the San Diego’s many Irish pubs, but the truth is that there is actually much more to do. Some of the family-oriented events in San Diego include:

  • Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival, which will be held on 5th and 6th Avenues, between Juniper and Upas. The parade starts at 10:30AM, beginning at 6th and Juniper, and will continue until 6PM. While watching the parade, you can visit the Irish Festival held in Balboa Park, as well as the Celtic Village on 6th and Quince. Kids can look forward to games, rides, and plenty of other fun activities, including llamas.
  • Also on Saturday the 14th, Domino’s Pizza is hosting the Patrick’s Day 10K run, as well as a 2–4 mile run/walk.
  • On Sunday the 15th you can participate in the Patrick’s Day 5K Half Marathon.
  • If loud music is your thing, ShamROCK kicks off on Tuesday the 17th in the Gaslamp.

Remember to Practice a Dental-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day

How do have a good time on St. Patrick’s Day and still stay smile-friendly? Well, one way is to be careful what you drink. You should always drink safely, but when looking after your dental health safe drinking takes on new meaning. One strong recommendation is to stay away from sugary liquors, which cause tooth decay and other dental infections. You should also avoid mixed drinks, if mainly for the reason of avoiding the carbonated soda usually used to mix. To learn more, check out our blogs “Five Ways Alcohol Can Ruin Your Smile” and “Soda Really is That Bad For Your Teeth.”

So how can I have any fun then, you might ask. Well, did you know that hops — a common ingredient in beer — has anti-bacterial properties? There ya have it! Beer, especially the hop-heavy kind. And there are few things more Irish than enjoying a good brew.