Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. 385 – c. 461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Take a look below for 10 fun and interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day.
1. St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but he was actually born in Britain around 385AD, his parents were roman citizens living in Scotland.
2. When he was fourteen he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery. He returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary among the Celtic pagans.
3. Legend has it that he used the native shamrock as a symbol of the holy Trinity when preaching and brought the Latin alphabet to Ireland.
4. Miracles attributed to him include the driving of serpents out of Ireland. However, evidence suggests post-glacial Ireland never had any snakes in the first place.
5. Wearing green, eating green food and even drinking green beer, is said to commemorate St Patrick’s use of the shamrock – although Blue was the original colour of his vestments.
6. St Patrick was said to have proclaimed that everyone should have a drop of the “hard stuff” on his feast day after chastising an innkeeper who served a short measure of whisky. In the custom known as “drowning the shamrock”, the shamrock that has been worn on a lapel or hat is made available for the last drink of the evening.
7. St Patrick’s day has been celebrated in America since 1737. Around 34 million modern Americans claim Irish ancestry (2015).
8. It is thought that St Patricks died on March 17 in 461AD. It is now a national holiday in Ireland, is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
9. Dublin’s St. Patricks Day parade attracts hundreds and thousands of people, while in Chicago the river is dyed green for a few hours. The biggest parade is normally held in New York, while the largest celebration in the southern hemisphere is in Sydney, Australia.
10. If you do end up finding a pot of 1,000 gold pieces at the end of rainbow, it is estimated the total would be worth around US$1,000,000. Not bad!