You may know that St Patrick’s Day is named after Saint Patrick but did you know that he wasn’t Irish, and he wasn’t born in Ireland. Patrick’s parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). Also, many do not know that the date of Saint Patrick’s Day was picked because it was the day he died.
2. Chicago River
Many are familiar with the tradition of the Chicago River turning green for St Patrick’s Day. It takes 25 pounds of vegetable-based dye to complete the project and the dye lasts for only a few hours. The city surprised its residents by carrying on the tradition this year after announcing it was canceled.
3. The First St Patrick’s Day Parade Was Not in Ireland
The world’s first recorded Saint Patrick’s Day Parade took place in Boston on March 18, 1737, followed by the New York Parade, which first took place in 1762.
Ireland didn’t have a St Patrick’s Day Parade until 1931. It was held in Dublin.
4. The Place to Drink on St Patrick’s Day was a Dog Show
From 1927-1961, there were strict laws on the sales of alcohol on Holy Days in Ireland. Therefore, the only place a thirsty Irish person could legally get a drink on Paddy’s day was at The Royal Dublin Dog Show.
5. The Shamrock
The humble shamrock was originally a teaching tool. It is believed that St. Patrick used the three-leaved plant to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to the pagan Irish.
6. Shamrocks Given to the President
Traditionally, every year, the Irish leader hands a crystal bowl full of shamrock to the US President. The shamrock, grown in Kerry, is immediately destroyed by the Secret Service after the exchange.
7. The Shortest St Patrick’s Day Parade
Currently, the town of Hot Springs, Arizona, claims to have the shortest St Patrick’s Day parade – a 98-foot route on Bridge Street. The parade has been postponed this year due to coronavirus concerns. The parade was canceled in 2020 as well.