I bet I can guess your top three priorities for today; 1. drink 2. pinch someone in an inappropriate place 3. drink some more! Sounds like a plan, but before you hit the Baileys so hard you temporarily forget how to read, take some time to check out these little known facts about our favorite alcohol-imbibed holiday.
1. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish – Yup, you read that right. The patron saint of Ireland wasn’t born on the Emerald Isle, but in Britain, most likely Scotland or Wales, to Roman parents. He was brought to Ireland as a slave and later escaped. Afterwards, he returned to Ireland as a Catholic missionary where he preached for more than 30 years.
2. Wearing green is an American tradition, not Irish – According to some sources, wearing green was actually considered unlucky in Ireland. Green is the color associated with the “Good People” (faeries) in Irish folklore. It was long thought that wearing too much of the color could tempt the Fare Folk to cause mischief or even abduct the person brazen enough to wear it. Blue was originally the color of choice in Ireland.
3. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations began in America – While St. Paddy’s Day is widely considered to be an Irish holiday, the celebration is actually an American tradition which began in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts.
4. The Holy Shamrock – Legend has it that St. Patrick utilized the shamrock as a symbol to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) to those he preached to, more specifically his own followers who had trouble understanding the principle of the “three-in-one” doctrine.
5. America: more Irish than Ireland – In a recent poll it was estimated that more than 36 million Americans can claim Irish ancestry. The entire population of Ireland is only 4.5 million people. Though, to be fair, that doesn’t include leprechauns and other Farefolk.
6. St. Guinness’ Day – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a lot of beer is consumed on St. Patrick’s Day, but did you know that approximately 1% of all the beer drank around the world per year is done so on St. Paddy’s Day? Guinness by itself will account for more than 13 million pints… and that’s just at Lindsay Lohan’s house!
7. New York, New York – The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York City in 1762 when Irish immigrants in the British colonial army marched down city streets.
8. “Drowning the Shamrock” – Traditionally, men would wear a shamrock on their left breast pocket or lapel as part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Placing this shamrock in the last drink of the day is said to bring luck and fortune. Someone bring me a shamrock… and a beer!
9. Don’t pinch me, bro! – Ever wonder why we pinch people who don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? Alcohol, you say? Well, maybe, but according to the Christian Science Monitor, it’s a tradition that started in America (of course) in the early 1700s. “St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green). People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers.”
10. He’s dead? Party time! – Contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a celebration of the saint’s birthday, but rather a remembrance of the day of his death. St. Patrick is believed to have died on March 17, 461AD. Cheers! 🙂