St. Patrick's Day Facts

St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty mysterious holiday wouldn’t you say? Who exactly is this Patrick guy? Why is the holiday associated with the color green? What’s so important about tiny leprechauns and beer? We wanted answers to this peculiar holiday so we did some investigating. Here are 10 facts about St. Patrick’s Day that you can impress your friends with this Friday over a couple of pints. 

St. Patrick was actually British

In the late 4th century, Maewyn Succat lived in Roman Britain when Irish raiders kidnapped him. After years of forced labor, he escaped back to Britain where he worked for the Catholic Church and changed his name to Patrick. Years later he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. After 30 years of converting the Irish to Christianity, Patrick died on March 17th, 461 AD and was dubbed the Patron Saint of Ireland despite his British heritage.

So why do North Americans celebrate the holiday?

When the Irish immigrated to North America they were labeled as drunken, violent criminals. In order to gain some respect, the Irish decided to share their heritage, Catholicism, and holiday with Americans. Soon enough the U.S. realized how popular it was becoming and decided to capitalize on the new holiday. According to WalletHub, which released a St. Patrick's Day by the Numbers report last year, Americans spent $4.4 billion on the holiday in 2016.

1737 in Boston

The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was surprisingly not in Ireland but in Boston in 1737.

The Big Parade

Nowadays, there are more than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States every year. The largest are in New York City and Boston. 

A Green River

Yep! You read that correctly. Chicago’s river is fed 45 lbs of vegetable-based dye to turn the river green for about 5 hours on the 17th.

We Should Actually be wearing Blue

Blue was actually the original color associated with St. Patrick. Green slowly replaced blue when it became linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th Century.

St. Patrick’s Day was actually a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970

Because it was originally a religious holiday, all pubs in Ireland were shut down for the day. In 1970, the day was reclassified as a national holiday making the day more of a celebration rather than a religious observance and pubs were then open to the public.

Let the taps flow

Nowadays, approximately 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide on St. Patrick's Day.

The Meaning Behind the Shamrock

The clover is Ireland's national emblem. Legend says that St. Patrick had used the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

The legendary Irish Leprechaun that is associated with St. Patrick’s Day may look cute and charming. However, it is said that the 2 feet tall men are unfriendly and quite bitter. The hostility comes from being over protective of their gold that you can find at the end of their rainbow!


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