What do the color green, parades and March 17th have in common? Of course, it is St.Patrick’s Day (also known as the Feast of St Patrick).
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by millions of people across the globe. People wear the color green, drink green beverages and decorate houses and businesses in shamrocks. In fact, the wearing of the green is a tradition that dates back to a story written about St. Patrick in 1726. St. Patrick (c. AD 385–461) was known to use the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity and to have worn green clothing.
The Feast of St. Patrick started in the early 17 century. The day marks the death of St. Patrick and was chosen as an official Christian feast day and is observed by the Catholic Church. The day is also a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
- In 2010, the average Irish person aged 15+ drank 11.9 litres of pure alcohol, according to provisional data. That’s the equivalent of about 44 bottles of vodka, 470 pints or 124 bottles of wine.
- There is a famous Irish dessert known as Drisheen, a surprisingly delicious black pudding.
- The leprechaun, famous to Ireland, is said to grant wishes to those who can catch them.
- Don’t be fooled by any holiday decorations showing lady leprechauns. In traditional Irish folk tales, there are no female leprechauns, only nattily attired little guys.
- The first fish and chips was served in Dublin in the 1880’s by Italian immigrants.
- Saint Patrick himself would have to deal with pinching on his feast day. His color was “Saint Patrick’s blue,” a light shade. The color green only became associated with the big day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
- Although he made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, Patrick wasn’t Irish himself. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late fourth century.
- How did the shamrock become associated with Saint Patrick? According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
- Another little-known fact from Irish lore: Leprechauns earned that gold they’re guarding. According to legend, leprechauns spend their days making and mending shoes. It’s hard work, so you can’t blame them for being territorial about their pots of gold.
- It is also believed St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. However, post-glacial Ireland never actually had snakes. Many believe that the term “snakes” referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place. Today, there are no snakes to be found!
- In 1737, the Feast of Saint Patrick was first celebrated in the United States by Irish immigrants. By 1762, New York City held the first official parade and, through time, it’s become one of the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades.
- According to Irish lore, the day could have been St. Maewyn’s Day because it was Patrick’s birth name before he adopted Patricius after becoming a priest.