Ten Things You Never Knew about Saint Patrick’s Day

The British Are Coming! A member of a wealthy family in Britain, Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland when he was 16. Legend has it he escaped and returned home as a stowaway aboard a pirate ship. Apparently his experience was so jarring that he became a priest and later returned to Ireland in an attempt to spread the Christian faith.

They’re Always After Me Lucky Charms! The shamrock is widely known as the national symbol of Ireland, from the sides of Aer Lingus Jets to the rugby jerseys. Folklore has it though, that St. Patrick used the three-leaf clovers to demonstrate the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Today, it’s customary to wear a shamrock on your lapel, and also to pop one in your shot of whiskey on St. Paddy’s Day.

When Blue Irish Eyes are Smilin’… St. Patrick’s Blue used to be the customary color of the day! The traditional name applies to shades of light, sky blue and it’s still used in Irish symbols. When the Order of St. Patrick was formed they would deck themselves out in the color. During the 1700s green became more and more prevalent in the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Now, the official shade of the day is Kelly Green.

Everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s! The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in America was in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts. Because of the prominent Irish population there, it was like a little taste of home. There was even an impromptu parade! Apparently, members of the Charitable Irish Society were meeting at a pub on March 17, reminiscing about Ireland, and the tradition was born!

Saint Who? St. Patrick boasts the most popular Saint’s Day of them all. St. Joseph, St. Frances, St. Valentine all pale in comparison to Pat’s widespread admiration. Though many revelers are somewhat undereducated about the history and meaning behind the holiday, they still don their green face paint from Sydney to Tokyo to Buenos Aires!

Did I Blink and Miss It?  In Dripsey, County Cork, the St. Patrick’s Day parade was so short made it to the Guinness Book of World Records! Only 23.4 meters, (between the town’s two pubs, the Weigh Inn and the Lee Valley), it was a tradition from 1999 to 2007 when the Lee Valley closed and the title was taken by Hot Springs Arkansas and their 98 foot celebration on Bridge Street.

Woke Up on the Wrong Side of the Pond? Outside of Ireland, there are two places that officially observe St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada it’s a provincial holiday, it’s a legit day off for the wee Caribbean isle of Montserrat, too. The reason for these seemingly random celebrations is the overwhelmingly Irish population in both areas. Large numbers emigrated from Ireland in the early 1800s and as a result, the Irish pride is great. Rumor has it the Guinness Brewery is even trying to convince Canadian lawmakers to make St. Patrick’s a bank holiday nationwide!

Lovely Day for a Guinness! On an average day, about 5.5 million pints of Guinness are enjoyed worldwide. On St. Patrick’s Day, this smooth Irish nectar is poured over 13 million times! A beer enjoyed near and far, Guinness got its start in 1759 at St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin.

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Whiskey. Until the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day was almost exclusively a religious observance in Ireland. A commemoration of the death of St. Patrick in the 5th century, it was a day for mass, and the pubs were even required to close! For almost one thousand years this ho-hum feast day took place, until the 20th century. The St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin with its music, parade, drinking and even fireworks has only been around since 1995!

Lent Me a Hand? Tradition has it, since March 17 falls within the days of Lent, all prohibitions against drinking, eating meat and general revelry are lifted on St. Paddy’s—quite the gift from the otherwise quite stringent Catholic Church! We take this to mean that in honor of St. Patrick and his touted escapades driving “the snakes” (pagans) from Ireland, you should eat, drink and be merry along with the almost 80 million people worldwide who claim “they have a little Irish in them.”

Make your hotel booking in Ireland with Excellent Hotels this St. Patrick’s Day and have fun!

This entry was posted in Holidays and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *