10 Things to Know About St. Patrick’s Day


While the Irish have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for more than 1,000 years, it was Irish Americans who raised it to the level of celebration that it is today. Green beer, green tinted rivers and St. Patrick’s Day parades all began right here in the United States of America. Here are 10 other things to know about St. Patrick’s Day held on March 17.

  1. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, however he was actually born during the Roman occupation of Britain and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16, according to  history.com. He later returned to Ireland bringing the Christian faith. 
  1. Initially, says history.com, the traditional meal for St. Patrick’s Day was Irish bacon and cabbage. Now the day is celebrated with Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage and champ. Champ is a blend of mashed potatoes and scallions.
  1. Green beer has been around for more than a century according to irishcentral.com. It was invented by Dr. Thomas Hayes Curtain in 1914. He added a drop of “blue wash” used to whiten clothes to beer giving it a shamrock green appearance. Unfortunately, “blue wash” is poisonous, and green food coloring is used today. Sláinte!
  1. Shamrocks are part of St. Patrick’s Day because legend states that he used the three leaves of the Irish clover to explain the Holy Trinity to his Christian converts.
  1. History.com states that there are more than 100 St. Patrick Day parades in the United States every year. The largest celebrations are in New York and Chicago. The first parade was held in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. It was organized by the Spanish colony’s Irish vicker Ricardo Artur in 1601.
  1. In 1961, the business manager for the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union noticed that a plumber’s white overalls had bright green stains all over it, seemingly matching the emerald green often associated with Ireland, due to the dye used by the Plumbers to find leaks in pipes, according to enjoyillinois.com. Then, in 1962, the Plumbers Local Union decided to use 100 pounds of that dye in the river to turn it green for St. Patrick’s Day – and it stayed that way for a week! Now they use 40 pounds of environmentally friendly dye and it only stays green for a few hours.
  1. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world, including Canada, Australia, Japan and Singapore.
  1. All pubs in Ireland were closed on March 17 because St. Patrick’s Day is a religious celebration until 1995, when the Irish government decided to use growing interest in the holiday to drive tourism.
  2. According to betterhomesandgardens.com, we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day because Irish immigrants in the United States believed that wearing green made them invisible to leprechauns—the classic fairy creatures who pinch anyone they can see. Pinching people who didn’t wear green reminded them that leprechauns could sneak up on them at any time, which is how the wear-green-or-be-pinched tradition began.
  1. Almanac.com explains that St. Patrick was in deed a real person. He was born as Maewyn Succat, but when he became a priest his name was changed to Patricius. St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the anniversary of his death. And, although we call him St. Patrick, the Catholic Church has never actually canonized him.

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