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March 17th marks a special holiday for the Irish and for everyone all over the world — It is St. Patrick’s Day! Let’s learn some facts about St. Patrick’s Day that you probably never knew before. Did you know that wearing head-to-toe green and drinking Guinness actually have nothing to do with the real Saint Patrick?
The Irish really know how to celebrate when it comes to St Patrick’s Day. They’re so good, in fact, they even have a special untranslatable term, the craic, to describe their unique brand of friendliness.
A day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, the occasion is always one big welcoming bash. Expect lots of dancing, hearty traditional dishes, a huge parade and as many pints as you can handle. But, did you know that St Patick’s Day used to be a dry holiday. It was considered a religious holiday in Ireland for most of the 20th century so all pubs would actually close on March 17. Once it became a national holiday in 1970, everything changed and pubs became a favorite spot for many to celebrate.
Although he’s one of Ireland’s most celebrated figures, Saint Patrick was actually British. Patrick was born around the year 390 in Scotland during Roman times, into a wealthy family. As the story goes, he was kidnapped into slavery at age 16 and brought over to Ireland. He then escaped to a monastery in Gaul, centered mostly in what is now France, where he converted to Christianity. That’s where he became a priest and then eventually a bishop. He returned to Ireland in 432 as a missionary, where he played a major role in converting the Irish to Christianity. After his death, he was named Ireland’s patron saint.
Here is one even more surprising fact. Saint Patrick isn’t even his real name. His real name was Maewyn Succat. Yes, you read that correctly. Maewyn Succat was his name until he changed it to Patrick when he became a bishop.
Did you know that March 17 is not Saint Patrick’s birthday? St. Patrick’s Day observers who might have thought they were celebrating the saint’s birthday will be surprised to learn that March 17, 461 is actually the day he died.
Blue was actually the color that was most associated with Patrick and green was considered unlucky. Blue is still considered symbolic of Ireland, so how did green become the go-to hue? Historically, green has been the color that’s been linked to a series of Irish rebellions that took place in order to gain independence from the English crown. The color stuck once waves of Irish immigrants made their home in America and began wearing green and carrying the Irish flag to show their pride for their home country.
Did you also know that the shamrock was NOT originally used as a teaching tool. Many believe that St. Patrick used the three-leaf clover to teach others about the Christian Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) but that hasn’t been proven to be true. However, the number three was a sacred number in Irish mythology, so it does make sense for the shamrock to hold that connection to the Holy Trinity, however, not in an instructive way.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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