Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

9 Interesting St. Patrick’s Day Facts

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Every March 17, countries around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in observance of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland credited for bringing Christianity to the country. Initially a religious feast day in the 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a day of celebrating Irish culture with parades, music, dancing, special foods, and of course, a lot of green.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few interesting St. Patrick’s Day facts!

  • Saint Patrick didn’t wear green. His color was “Saint Patrick’s blue.” The color green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
  • Despite his Irish notoriety, Saint Patrick was British. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late fourth century.
  • According to Irish legend, Saint Patrick used the shamrock as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
  • Saint Patrick is credited for driving the snakes out of Ireland, but according to the fossil record, Ireland has never been home to snakes as it was too cold to host reptiles during the Ice Age. The surrounding seas have kept snakes out since.
  • There isn’t any corn in the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage. The name is a reference to the large grains of salt historically used to cure meats, which were also known as “corns.”
  • Saint Patrick was born “Maewyn Succat” but changed his name to “Patricius” after becoming a priest.
  • Irish immigrants began observing St. Patrick’s Day in Boston in 1737 and the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in America was held in New York City in 1766.
  • In Chicago, the Plumbers Local 110 union dyes the river Kelly green. The dye lasts for around five hours.
  • On or around St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish taoiseach, or prime minister, presents the U.S. president with a crystal bowl of live shamrocks as a symbol of the close ties between the two countries.

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