Magical Saint Patrick’s Day: History, Myths, Traditions and FactsCherilyn Ashley
There is mischief in the air! Saint Patrick’s Day soon will be upon us. It doesn’t matter if one is straight-off-the boat or just Irish for the day, here are some fun facts about this day.
History of Day
St. Patrick is known as the patron saint of Ireland, but he was not born there. He was born in Britain in the 4th-century and didn’t arrive in Ireland until he was 16 years old. After he arrived in Ireland, Patrick became interested in Christianity and started sharing his newfound faith with others. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the day Patrick supposedly died.
Myth: Saint Patrick was not a real person. This is false. St. Patrick was a real person, but some of the traditions associated with the holiday are myths.
Myth: Four-leaf clovers were used and promoted by St. Patrick. This is false because according to legend, Saint Patrick used a three-leaf clover when he was teaching about Christianity. A four-leaf clover today is a symbol of good luck.
Myth: St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes are not found in Ireland. The ocean keeps snakes away and many of the animals that are found in Europe and North America are not found in Ireland.
Myth: Green has always been the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day. The color people originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue. Green was not introduced until the 18th-century, when the shamrock became the national symbol. Green is also the color that mythical fairies called leprechauns like to dress in. Fairies, though, before wearing green wore red.
Myth: Corned beef and cabbage is the traditional food served on this day. This is a complete falsehood. Corned beef and cabbage are as Irish as a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. In Ireland, people would celebrate the feast day with a meal of Irish stew and soda bread, or maybe a meal of pork and potatoes. All these meals would have been inexpensive.
If one does not wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, one gets pinched. This tradition originated with the myth and folklore of the Leprechauns, who like to pinch anyone they can see. Wearing green makes one invisible to the Leprechauns. People today wear green on this day to bring good luck and honor to their Irish ancestry.
St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts
- There are 450 churches in the United States named after St. Patrick.
- Every year in Chicago they turn the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day, which takes 40 pounds of green dye.
- According to the U.S. Census, 650,000 babies are name Patrick in a year.
- According to WalletHub.com, the value of a Leprechaun’s pot of gold is $1.22 million. This is a pot of gold that has 1,000 gold coins that weigh 1 ounce each.
- 7 million U.S. residents claim to be of Irish descent.
- There are 16 places in the United States named Dublin.
- A crystal bowl of shamrocks is given by the President of Ireland to the President of the United States each St. Patrick’s Day.
Sources: History.com; Wiki How; Quora; National Geographic; Time and date.com