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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Jenna Johnson

Many college students have been celebrating since the weekend (actually, Penn State students started in February) but today is officially the day.

Chicago plans to dye its river green. The Empire State Building in New York will light up like a shamrock. President Obama will hang out with Ireland's Prime Minister and Nancy Pelosi. And thousands of college students across the country will drink green beer, pinch strangers and close out the night singing, "Danny Boy."

Not sure how you will celebrate? Here are some ideas.

stpattysday.jpgFind a pub
Want to sip a pint of Guinness, but not sure who serves it? There's an app for that (although it will cost you $1.99). The Guinness Pub Finder helps you find the closest place selling their brew, schools you on the six steps to creating the perfect pint, and provides a ruler to ensure the head of the pint is up to Guinness quality standards. It also has animated screen savers and alcohol safety facts.

Go Green!
Oh my gosh -- get it? Go green, like "go all environmental and love your planet." Switch out your energy-hogging light bulbs for greener ones, take a shorter and colder shower, use organic food coloring in your beer, recycle, take public transportation, buy a Hybrid or hug a tree. In honor of the play on words, the University of Pennsylvania is hosting a panel discussion today called, "Innovation in Recycling."

Learn to Irish dance

Wait, St. Patrick was a real person?
Learn the history behind the holiday. Maybe your new knowledge will come in handy at trivia night. Or maybe you can be that person who keeps saying, "Did you know..." People love that person.

Did you know the original color associated with St. Patrick's Day was blue, not green?

Did you know St. Patrick wasn't even Irish?

Did you know McCann's Irish Oatmeal has more than 1,000 friends on Facebook?

Did you know that the Gaelic phrase, "Go hifreann leat!" means, "To hell with you!"?

Did you know that there's a quiz that will test your Irish knowledge?

Wear something green
Sure, you could just throw on a green T-shirt. Or, tackier yet, print up matching T-shirts for your entire sorority house. But a number of fashion blogs have some more original suggestions for the day, like darling party dresses, shamrock-colored couture, all-natural nail polish and Kelly green Marc Jacobs wedges.

Graduate from green beer
Does anyone really like green beer? Can we all agree that it's a little gross? The master drink mixers at UV Vodka sent me two recipes for bright green cocktails that don't require any food coloring. (If you choose to enjoy any of these beverages, I hope you do so responsibly. I also hope that you are over 21.)

UV Apple Drink.jpgThe Lucky Charm
2 parts UV Apple vodka
2 parts cinnamon schnapps
Pour all ingredients in martini shaker. Shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an apple slice.

The Wild Rover
2 parts UV Apple vodka
2 parts energy drink
Pour all ingredients in a glass filled with ice. Stir and serve.

Cook Irish-style
Forget historical accuracy and the potato famine, and cook a massive Irish feast. Martha Stewart recommends lamb stew, bacon and cabbage, scones, Irish soda bread and green tea lattes. Or the blog Meatless in Miami has a recipe for Vegan Colcannon, a kale and potato concoction. And to top it off, the D.C. foodie blog Modern Domestic has a fabulous recipe for Guinness cupcakes (you can even see the beer bubbling in the frosting). Or you could just eat a bowl of Lucky Charms.

Celebrate with a massive crowd
Almost every state has a parade or two planned. (Although, be warned, most parades were last weekend.) And if you are in the Washington area, check out the Going Out Gurus' St. Patrick's Day Survival Guide.

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By Jenna Johnson  |  March 17, 2010; 9:23 AM ET
Categories:  Night Life  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: How to stay out of trouble on spring break
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