Every year, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the 17th of March. But what do we know about St. Patrick? Here are 10 interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day.
1. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish
He might be the patron saint of Ireland but St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish, he was born in Britain! His parents were Roman citizens who lived in either Wales or Scotland (experts can’t agree). Historians generally believe that St. Patrick was born in Britain near the end of the 4th century.
2. St. Patrick was originally associated with the colour blue
Nowadays, we celebrate St. Patrick’s day by dressing up in green leprechaun suits and shamrock glasses! However, St. Patrick was originally depicted wearing blue robes, a light shade of sky blue. The colour green only became associated with the big day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
3. Chicago dyes its river green every year
Since 1962, the dyeing tradition has been done annually! The river is dyed with 40 pounds of environmentally friendly dye and usually takes place between Columbus Drive and State Street. Every year, thousands of spectators line the bridges and riverwalk to catch a glimpse of the green waters.
4. The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration
According to research, the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade on record took place in St Augustine. “In March of 1601, St. Augustine’s residents gathered together and processed through the city’s streets in honour of an Irish saint, who appears to have assumed a privileged place in the Spanish garrison town. Indeed, during these same years, St. Patrick was identified as the official ‘protector’ of the city’s maize fields” – Dr. J. Michael Francis.
5. There were never any snakes in Ireland
According to popular legend, St. Patrick drove the snakes in Ireland into the sea after they began attacking him as he was enduring a 40-day fast. However, evidence suggests otherwise! Ireland was too cold for snakes to be interested in visiting the Emerald Isle in the fifth century.
6. It could have been St. Maewyn’s Day
Much of his life is unknown to historians and can’t be verified, though some sources have listed his birth name as Maewyn Succat. It is believed that Maewyn changed his name to “Patricius” after becoming a priest.
7. The shamrock was considered a sacred plant
You will see shamrocks everywhere on Paddy’s Day. The shamrock is authentically Irish in nature. Irish legend says that Saint Patrick used the shamrock as an educational symbol and a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity as he converted the Irish to Christianity in the fourth century.
8. Guinness is very popular on St. Patrick’s Day
The Irish stout is undeniably a March 17 classic, not only for its iconic taste but for its Irish roots. According to a 2018 report by WalletHub, 13,000,000 pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day.
9. There are only two countries in the world that have a public holiday on St. Patrick’s day
Those two countries are Ireland, including Northern Ireland, and Montserrat, a small island in the Caribbean. St. Patrick`s Day is celebrated on Montserrat not only to commemorate the island`s Irish history but also to remember the 17th March 1768 slave rebellion. On this day visitors to the island get stamped with an Irish shamrock.
10. He travelled across Europe studying
St. Patrick’s studies of Christianity brought him to France where he spent most of his time at Auxerre. He also visited Tours and the abbey at Lérins. It is believed that his studies took him about 15 years to complete and once he was ordained, he returned to Ireland and adopted the name Patrick.
Here’s a list of Irish words, phrases and slang that you might hear Irish people use in conversation. If you learn a few of these