7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about St. Patrick’s Day Mar 16, 2015 20:27:50 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Mar 16, 2015 20:27:50 GMT -5
Seven Things You Probably Didn’t Know about St. Patrick’s Day
Everyone enjoys putting wearing their green duds March 17 and being Irish for a day. We’ve all heard the day celebrates the life of a saint who had something to do with snakes in Ireland and now we have parades and drink green beer. But what do we really know about St. Patrick’s Day? Everyone may claim to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, you can sound like the real deal by learning a few facts about the saint, the day and the traditions. Your knowledge might even impress someone so much he rewards you with a mug of green beer.
St. Patrick Wasn’t Irish and His Name Wasn’t ‘Patrick.’ The man we know as St. Patrick was born as Maewyn Succat in Britain and he wasn’t religious. He was kidnaped and sold into slavery by Irish marauders at age 16 and formed his religious beliefs while enslaved. After escaping and returning to Britain, he became ordained as a priest and returned to Ireland to convert the Irish Celtic pagans to Christianity.
St. Patrick’s Day Was Not Always a Big Party. Originally, March 17, the recorded day of St. Patrick’s death, was celebrated as a Catholic feast and quiet religious observance. The first largely public celebration of St. Patrick’s Day took place in Boston in 1737. It did not become a national holiday in Ireland until 1903. In fact, until the 1970s, pubs in Ireland were required by law to close on March 17.
St. Patrick’s Day Parades Started in the US. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was actually took place in New York in 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the British military during the Revolutionary War marched through the city in celebration of the religious feast day and their Irish roots. The first parade in Ireland was held in Dublin in 1931.
Shamrocks Are for Sunday School. Shamrocks and clovers have long been associated with St. Patrick because legend has it that he used a shamrock to describe the Christian idea of God as the Holy Trinity to the Druid King of Ireland. He chose the plant because the Celts believed the clover to be sacred because its leaves form a triad. The legend of the clover indicates each leaf has meaning. The first leaf is hope, the second faith, the third is love and, if the clover happens to have four leaves, the fourth leaf is luck, hence, the lucky four-leave clover.
St. Patrick Wore Blue, Not Green. In modern celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day, revelers wear green, eat and drink green foods and turn everything they possible green by using green dye. This tradition is said to commemorate St. Patrick’s use of the shamrock in his religious teaching, but didn’t really become a part of his feast celebration until the 19th century. In reality, St. Patrick wore blue.
There Were Never Any Snakes in Ireland. The legend of St. Patrick claims he drove all the snakes out of Ireland, which to this day, is a snake-free zone. The only problem with this legend is that biologists now believe there were never any snakes in Ireland. Based on its geographical location and the temperature of the ocean surrounding it, snakes had no way of migrating to the island. Most likely, the legend of the snakes is a metaphor for St. Patrick’s driving paganism out of Ireland by converting so many to Christianity.
There Are More Irish in America than in Ireland. According to the US Census, there are more Irish people in America than there are in Ireland. As of 2003, more than 34 million Americans claimed Irish ancestry. The population of Ireland is just over four million people.
Source: Kathy Landin, The FW.