St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD. It is also a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, and a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- The actual color of St. Patrick is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day during the 19th century. Green, in Irish legends, was worn by fairies and immortals, and also by people to encourage their crops to grow.
- St. Patrick did not actually drive snakes out of Ireland; the snakes represent the pagans that he converted to Christianity.
- The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in Boston in 1737.
- In Chicago, on St. Patrick’s Day, the rivers are dyed green.
- In Seattle, there is a ceremony where a green stripe is painted down the roads.
- Most Catholics attend mass in the morning and then attend the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
- Shamrocks are worn on the lapel on this day.
- In Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps. Children wear orange, white and green badges, and women and girls wear green ribbons in their hair.
- Many young people dye their hair green for the special day.
- Many people wear green on this holiday to avoid being pinched.
- The phrase, “Drowning The Shamrock” is from the custom of floating the shamrock on the top of whiskey before drinking it. The Irish believe that if you keep the custom, then you will have a prosperous year.
- Many bars in the United States, and abroad, serve green beer to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.
Facts about the Irish
- 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry, according to the 2003 U.S. Census. That’s almost nine times the population of Ireland, which has 4.1 million people.
- Nine of the people who signed our Declaration Of Independence were of Irish origin, and nineteen Presidents of the United States proudly claim Irish heritage — including our first President, George Washington.
- Some American towns have “Irish” names. You could visit: Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia; Shamrock Lakes, Indiana; Shamrock, Oklahoma; Shamrock, Texas; Dublin, California and Dublin, Ohio.
- The harp is the symbol of Ireland. The color green is also commonly associated with Ireland, also known as “the Emerald Isle.”
- The Irish flag is green, white and orange. The green symbolizes the people of the south, and orange, the people of the north. White represents the peace that brings them together as a nation.
- The name “leprechaun” has several origins. It could be from the Irish Gaelic word “leipreachan,” which means “a kind of aqueous sprite.” Or, it could be from “leath bhrogan,” which means “shoemaker.”
Facts about Clovers
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the highest number of leaves found on a clover is 14.
- One estimate suggests that there are about 10,000 regular three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover.
- Legend says that each leaf of the clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.