Thousands of people wearing green and celebrating the Irish with parades, good cheer and a pint of beer. It’s almost March 17th, which means St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner.
Now, do you know why we do this? Here are seven facts about how and why we celebrate St. Patrick’s day!
1. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, although he was born in Britain, around385 AD. His parents were Roman citizens living in either Scotland or Wales. As a boy of 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery herding sheep. He returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary among the Celtic pagans. Legend has it that he used the native shamrock as a symbol of the holy trinity when preaching and brought the Latin alphabet to Ireland. He passed away on March 17th 461AD.
2. St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. Around 34 million modern Americans claim Irish ancestry.
3. Dublin has a parade that attracts hundreds of thousands of people, while in Chicago the river is dyed green for a few hours. The biggest parade is normally held in New York, while the largest celebration in the southern hemisphere is in Sydney, Australia. For more parades in the U.S. check out the top 10 places here. Where do YOU celebrate?!
4. Wearing green, eating green food and even drinking green beer, is said to commemorate St Patrick’s use of the shamrock – although blue was the original color of his vestments. More on St. Patrick’s Day Symbols and Traditions can be found here.
5. Popular Irish toasts on St Patrick’s Day: “May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.”
6. Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. In 2009, roughly 26.1 billion pounds of beef and 2.3 billion pounds of cabbage were produced in the United States.
7. There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself. Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.
PS: Don’t forgot to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, as you might get pinched! No surprise, it’s an entirely American tradition. St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made you invisible to leprechauns, who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green). People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers.
What do YOU have planned for St. Patrick’s day? What are you going to wear, where are you going to watch the parade? Let us know in the comments!