15 Fascinating St Paddy’s Day Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

St. Paddy’s Day every March 17 is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. It is known as a day of revelry and celebration for people of Irish descent all over the world, as well as for people who just want to celebrate with a good pint of beer. In fact, Paddy comes from the Irish Pádraig, which explains the strange emerald double-Ds, “Campbell writes on his website. Meanwhile, Patty is the diminutive of Patricia, or a burger, and definitely not a fella. There isn’t a single sinner in Ireland who would refer to Patrick as “Patty”. After all, both St. Paddy’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day are the same event. 

Furthermore, St. Paddy’s Day is a time to celebrate Irish culture, heritage and history. At the beginning, it is the day to commemorate the death of Saint Patrick, who was instrumental in bringing Christianity to Ireland. The day has evolved from a religious feast day to an opportunity for people to celebrate Irish heritage with parades, festivals and general revelry. Now that you are ready for St. Paddy’s Day, here’s a list of fun facts to make the time go by quickly.

1. The Real Saint Patrick’s Life

The Real Saint Patrick’s Life
The Real Saint Patrick’s (Source: https://www.christianitytoday.com)

Did you know that St. Patrick was born in the United Kingdom, not Ireland? Much of what is known about St. Patrick’s life is based on tale and folklore. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is thought to have been born in Britain near the end of the fourth century. 

He was abducted by Irish raiders at the age of 16 and sold as a slave to a Celtic priest in Northern Ireland. He escaped to Britain after working as a shepherd for six years. He subsequently became a Christian missionary in Ireland. People came from all over the world to learn about God from him. 

2. The First St. Paddy’s Day Parade Was Held in America

The First St. Paddy’s Day Parade Was Held in America

While people in Ireland have been commemorating St. Patrick since the 1600s, the tradition of a St. Paddy’s Day parade originated in America and predates the United States’ establishment. On March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida, a St. Paddy’s Day procession was held, according to records.  Ricardo Artur, the Irish vicar of the Spanish Colonies, planned the march and previous St. Paddy’s Day celebrations.

Furthermore, homesick Irish men serving in the English military marched in Boston in 1737 and New York City on March 17 more than a century later. Hence, St. Paddy’s Day parades in New York City, Boston, and other early American cities gained in popularity as a result.

3. There Were No Snakes Around for St. Patrick to Banish from Ireland

There Were No Snakes Around for St. Patrick to Banish from Ireland

One of the traditions surrounding St. Patrick is that he stood atop an Irish hillside and cursed snakes, causing them all to crawl away into the sea. In fact, evidence reveals that snakes never ever set foot on the Emerald Isle. The most recent Ice Age, which lasted 10,000 years and made the island too cold for reptiles, is blamed by most experts. The surrounding waters may have prevented snakes from invading the Emerald Isle after the Ice Age.

Snakes have not been found in the country’s fossil record. Since the last glacial epoch, water has enveloped Ireland. The area was once covered with ice, making it too cold for the reptiles to survive.

4. Leprechauns are Likely Based on Celtic Fairies

Leprechauns are Likely Based on Celtic Fairies

St. Paddy’s Day is often associated with the red-haired, green-clothed Leprechaun. The Irish word for these folkloric characters is “lobaircin,” which means “small-bodied fellow.” The Celtic belief in fairies is likely the source of leprechaun ism. Fairies are tiny men and women who could utilize their magical powers for good or evil. Leprechauns were grumpy fairies that were in charge of fixing the other fairies’ shoes in Celtic folklore. These spirits allegedly joined with a household fairy and developed a taste for heavy drinking, making no cellar safe.  

Meanwhile, there once was a time when Leprechauns were thought to be magical little creatures who spent their days making gold, and then guarding it. Over time, stories about these mythical creatures have evolved and are now more likely to involve pots of gold at the end of some rainbow. From having hidden treasures in pots buried under floorboards, to becoming the guardian of some lucky person’s pot of gold

5. People Drank Guinness on Saint Paddy’s Day

People Drank Guinness on Saint Paddy’s Day

Guinness is arguably the first drink that springs to mind when thinking of the most renowned St. Paddy’s Day cocktails. At first, alcohol drinking and sale were restricted in Ireland around this time. People were also forbidden from eating meat during the Christian season of Lent. However, for one day during Lent, St. Paddy’s Day, these limitations were abolished. This is where the long-standing custom of drinking on St. Paddy’s Day began.

Green beer, Guinness, parades, and all-day drinking are synonymous with St. Paddy’s Day. Guinness consumption is a long-standing habit in Ireland and the Irish diaspora. Drinking an Irish beer appears to be a holiday must. But Guinness is only one of the many great Irish beverages that earn a cheer or three on St. Paddy’s Day.

6. The Shamrock Was Considered a Sacred Plant

The Shamrock Was Considered a Sacred Plant

For generations, the shamrock, a three-leaf clover, has been connected with Ireland. The Celts referred to it as “seamroy,” and it was regarded as a sacred plant that heralded the approach of spring. St. Patrick is said to have utilized the plant as a visual aid in illustrating the Holy Trinity. The shamrock had become a symbol of growing Irish nationalism by the 17th century.

Moreover, four-leaf clovers are considered to represent trust, hope, love, and good fortune. The phrase “the luck of the Irish” comes from the fact that Ireland has more four-leaf clovers than any other country. If you come across a four-leaf clover, keep looking for more!

7. The Potato Famine Makes Irish Were Hated in America

The Potato Famine Makes Irish Were Hated in America

While Irish Americans are today proud of their background, the Irish have not always been celebrated by their American counterparts. A terrible potato blight struck Ireland in 1845, causing widespread starvation. While nearly 1 million people died, another 2 million fled their homes in the 19th century’s largest single population movement. 

The majority of the exiles, over a quarter of the Irish population, arrived in the United States. The Irish refugees were viewed as diseased, untrained, and a drain on social money once they arrived.

8. Corned Beef and Cabbage Was an American Innovation

Corned Beef and Cabbage Was an American Innovation

Corned beef and cabbage, which has become a St. Paddy’s Day classic across the country, is an American invention. While ham and cabbage were popular in Ireland, destitute immigrants could get by with corned beef. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Irish-Americans living in the slums of lower Manhattan bought leftover corned beef from ships returning from the tea trade in China. 

In fact, they used meat instead of pork and cabbage instead of potatoes. To eliminate some of the salinity, the Irish would boil the beef three times, the last time with cabbage. For immigrants who arrived in America, those foods were less expensive. 

9. They Wear Green as Nationalists

They Wear Green as Nationalists

Ireland’s climate helps to preserve the natural green tint of the greenery that covers its landscape. Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because of its lush green terrain. Green is also connected with Ireland because it is worn on St. Paddy’s Day. Therefore, the Irish Americans wore the green as a reminder that they were first and foremost nationalists

According to legend, if you don’t wear green on St.Paddy’s Day, you will be pinched. Because green makes you invisible to leprechauns, who enjoy pinching people. Therefore, people began pinching individuals who didn’t wear green as a warning that leprechauns would come up behind them and pinch those who didn’t wear it.

Moreover, on St. Paddy’s Day, people pinch each other as a sign of luck. If you get pinched, then it means that you will receive good luck in the future. In order to make sure that you’re not giving bad luck or receiving any on this holiday, you must return the favor and pinch someone else. 

10. Protestant Wear Orange on St. Paddy’s Day

Protestant Wear Orange on St. Paddy’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, and the tradition is well-known, with the color green dominating the day. On St. Paddy’s Day, however, not everyone dresses in green. Some people also wear oranges. The color orange signifies Ireland’s large Protestant population, while the color green represents Roman Catholicism, the faith that created the festival. 

While the color green is associated with the Irish Catholic tradition, Protestants associate the color orange with William of Orange, the Protestant king who toppled Roman Catholic King James II in the Glorious Revolution. Nonetheless, Protestants adopted St. Paddy’s Day, wearing orange instead of green for the day.

11. The Original Color Associated In St. Paddy’s Day

The Original Color Associated In St. Paddy’s Day

The color blue has been associated with Saint Patrick since the Anglo-Irish Order of St Patrick adopted it as its official color in the 1780s. The word alludes to the Order of St. Patrick’s sky blue, which is frequently confused in Ireland with a darker, richer blue. 

The significance of blue can be traced back to early Irish mythology, when Flathead Éireann, Ireland’s sovereign, was frequently depicted as a woman clad in a blue gown. After all, the earliest images of St. Patrick show him wearing blue rather than green clothes, and the official color of the Order of St. Patrick, which George III established for the Kingdom of Ireland, was a sky blue known as “St. Patrick’s Blue.”

12. St. Paddy’s Day’s World Record

St. Paddy’s Day’s World Record

St. Paddy’s Day is a world-wide celebration of Ireland and all things Irish, which is also the perfect time to set a world record. There were 882 persons dressed as Saint Patrick at the largest gathering. Saint Brigid’s National School in Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland, achieved it on March 14, 2013. The attempt was made as part of a celebration of the school’s new substantial addition.

When it comes to the luck of the Irish, one fact is clear: when you get thousands of people together to set a Guinness World Record, something magical happens. In an event organized by Bandon Town in Bandon, Ireland, 1,263 people dressed as leprechauns achieved the record for the largest assembly of people dressed as leprechauns. On March 17, 2012, an attempt was made to bring the town together to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day.

13. New York City Holds The Largest St. Paddy’s Day Celebration

New York City Holds The Largest St. Paddy's Day Celebration

The city’s major parade on March 17 attracts more than two million people, making it the world’s largest St. Paddy’s Day event. The march begins at 11 a.m. on 44th Street and lasts around six hours, ending at 79th Street, including a stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral along the way. There are no floats or cars allowed in the parade, which attracts between 150,000 and 250,000 spectators and comprises bands, bagpipes, and dancers. Furthermore, the parade’s tradition dates back to 1762, making it older than the United States of America.

The “Heroes of 9/11” were honored in the 2002 NYC St. Paddy’s Day Parade, which was dedicated to the police, fire, and other rescue workers. The Parade, which spanned 1.5 miles, came to a halt for two minutes at lunchtime. With an estimated 300,000 marchers and three million spectators lined Fifth Avenue, that year’s Parade was the largest to date. It was also the first occasion the President of Ireland reviewed the Parade in its history.

14. Chicago River Dyed Green For St. Paddy’s Day

Chicago River Dyed Green For St. Paddy’s Day

One of the iconic traditions during St. Paddy’s Day in Chicago is dying the Chicago river green. In 1962, city employees in Chicago threw 100 pounds of dye into the river that runs through the city for St. Paddy’s Day. It turned the river emerald green for a week, beginning an annual ritual. In 2022, the city marked the 60th anniversary of the event.

Originally, the green dye was first used as part of the city’s effort to clean up the river’s shoreline regions, which had long served as a dump for Chicago’s garbage. The government was determined to develop the riverfront in 1955, and entrusted city officials with locating the source of the sewage. They utilized the green dye to help them figure out where the garbage came from.

15. You Can’t Find Female Leprechauns

You Can’t Find Female Leprechauns

One of the traditions you can do during St. Paddy’s day is looking for leprechauns. In Irish legend, a leprechaun is a diminutive supernatural being classified by some as a form of lonely fairy. They are frequently represented as mischievous little bearded men with a coat and hat. According to mythology, if you follow the tap of their cobbler’s hammers, you’ll locate a leprechaun.

Have you ever wondered why you’ve never encountered a female leprechaun? In fact, female leprechauns have never been documented, and what’s more intriguing is that leprechauns are considered members of the fairy family. Some even believe that leprechauns are rejected fairies who have been expelled from the fairy community, which explains why they’re frequently depicted as grumpy, mischievous creatures.

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