St Patrick’s Day – 17 Fun Facts
March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day so we’ve collected 17 fun facts about the celebration. See how many of these fun facts you already know:
- St Patrick’s Day is one of the world’s biggest saint’s day celebrations, celebrated in 200 countries by about 80 million people. (Just seeing if you were paying attention.)
- March 17 is the feast day of St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. He’s believed to have died on that date in 461 AD.
- Green was not the color originally associated with St Patrick; it was blue. The switch happened in the 19th century.
- Boston, USA holds the honor of holding the first St Patrick’s Day parade in 1737.
- Some 23% of Boston’s population is of Irish descent – the largest ratio in America.
- New York is said to have the world’s biggest St Patrick’s Day parade and celebration, with 150,000 in the parade and an audience of about 3 million.
- Montreal has had an annual St Patrick’s Day parade since 1824 – the longest running such parade in Canada.
- Since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green in honor of the day.
- Shamrocks symbolize the day; St Patrick used them to explain how the father, son and holy spirit were connected. The are also Ireland’s national flower.
- In Ireland, people wear shamrocks on jackets and caps. Children may also wear badges in Ireland’s national colors of green, white and orange.
- St Patrick never chased snakes out of Ireland. The snakes of legend are actually pagans.
- Ironically, St Patrick wasn’t Irish, but of Scottish descent. He might even have been born in Wales.
- St Patrick was born Maewyn Succat, but was sold into slavery in Ireland. He took the name Patrick when he became a priest.
- If you have an Irish parent or grandparent, you are entitled to Irish citizenship.
- Among Americans, more than 9 times Ireland’s population say they have Irish ancestry – that’s 34.5 million people.
- Corned beef and cabbage are widely eaten in America on the day; that’s not the case in Ireland.
- In the US, St Patrick’s Day is a major card-giving occasion, with more than 8 million cards exchanged.