St. Patrick’s Day kicks off a worldwide celebration that is also known as the Feast of St. Patrick. On March 17th, many will wear green in honor of the Irish and decorate with 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. They’ll revel in the Irish heritage and eat traditional Irish fare, too.
In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated since before the country was formed. While the holiday has been a bit more of a rowdy one, with green beer, parades, and talk of leprechauns, in Ireland, it the day is more of a solemn event. It wasn’t until broadcasts of the events in the United States were aired in Ireland some of the Yankee ways spread across the pond. One tradition that is an Irish-American tradition not common to Ireland is corned beef and cabbage.
- In 2010, the average Irish person aged 15+ drank 11.9 litres (3 gallons) 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.
- The first fish and chips were served in Dublin in the 1880’s by Italian immigrants.
- St. Patrick is well known for being the patron saint of Ireland and having a day named for him that most of the world uses as an excuse to get incredibly drunk. However, St. Patrick, despite popular belief, was not actually Irish.
- The real St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family.
- His given name was Maewyn Succat.
- St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in North America since the late 18th century.
- One of the shortest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world lasts only 100 yards, from one pub to another, and is held in Dripsey, County Cork, Ireland.
- The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States was held in Boston (1737).
- According to Wikipedia, The world’s first recorded St Patrick’s Parade was in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1601. The Charitable Irish Society of Boston organized the first observance of Saint Patrick’s Day in the Thirteen Colonies in 1737. New York’s first Saint Patrick’s Day observance was similar to that of Boston. It was held on 16 March 1762 in the home of John Marshall, an Irish Protestant, and over the next few years, informal gatherings by Irish immigrants were the norm. The first recorded parade in New York was by Irish soldiers in the British Army in 1766.
- The color of St. Patrick’s Day was originally blue. It’s thought that the shift to green happened because of Ireland’s nickname “The Emerald Isle,” the green in the Irish flag and the shamrock, or clover. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn as early as the 17th century.
- 1962 marked the first time Chicago dyed their river green for St Patrick’s Day.
- There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.
- St. Patrick never got canonized by a pope, making his saintly status somewhat questionable.
- St Patrick’s Day commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It happened in the year 432.
- At the age of 16, St Patrick was kidnapped and was taken to Ireland. He was kidnapped by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. He worked there for 6 years tending sheep and then escaped and became a priest.
- On this day, people usually eat corned beef and cabbage, and they wear green. However, corned beef is an English dish and not Irish.
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