Sometimes I spend a LOT of time in my backyard looking for four-leaf clovers, when the truth is: they’re harder to find than you think…
As you all celebrate the greenest of green Irish holidays today, check out a list of facts below that you may or may not know about St. Patricks Day!
And please, if you’re going to be drinking today remember to be safe and get a designated driver, cab or Uber! Cheers!
** The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York in the 1760s.
** For many years, blue was the color most often associated with St. Patrick. Green was considered unlucky. St. Patrick’s blue was considered symbolic of Ireland for many centuries and the Irish Presidential Standard is still blue.
** How did the shamrock become associated with Saint Patrick? According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
** IT USED TO BE A DRY HOLIDAY. Wait, REALLY?? For most of the 20th century, Saint Patrick’s Day was considered a strictly religious holiday in Ireland, which meant that the nation’s pubs were closed for business on March 17. (The one exception went to beer vendors at the big national dog show, which was always held on Saint Patrick’s Day.) In 1970, the day was converted to a national holiday, and the stout resumed flowing.
** Guinness sales soar on St. Patrick’s Day. Recent figures show that 5.5 million pints of the black stuff are downed around the world every day. On St. Patrick’s Day that figure is doubled.
** New York may have more manpower, but Chicago has a spectacle all its own. The city has been celebrating Saint Patrick by dumping green dye into the Chicago River since 1962. It takes 40 tons of dye to get the river to a suitably festive shade!
** All of the Saint Patrick’s Day revelry around the globe is great news for brewers. A 2012 estimate pegged the total amount spent on beer for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations at $245 million. And that’s before tips to pubs’ bartenders.
** Don’t be fooled by any holiday decorations showing lady leprechauns. In traditional Irish folk tales, there are no female leprechauns, only nattily attired little guys.
** You can’t attend a Saint Patrick’s Day event without hearing a cry of “Erin go Bragh.” What’s the phrase mean? It’s a corruption of the Irish Éirinn go Brách, which means roughly “Ireland Forever.”
** March 17th is when Patrick died.
** Saint Patrick is a saint of the Catholic Church, and his holy day is the day of his death, and subsequent entrance to heaven, rather than the day of his physical birth. After spending most of his adult life converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity, St. Patrick went to his reward on March 17, 461 AD.
*** Bonus Fact: Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000.