St. Patrick’s Day is an extremely popular holiday in the United States, but most associate it with shamrocks and leprechauns. Here are 10 things you might not have known about St. Patrick’s day.
1. St. Patrick was British. St. Patrick (born Maewyn Succat) was born in Britan in 390 AD. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery when he was 16, and thats how he ended up in Ireland. He escaped after 7 years and went back to Britan, but felt that he was called to go back to Ireland and be ordained as a priest.
2. Ireland used to ban drinking on St. Patrick’s Day. The modern St. Patrick’s activity of choice is downing a green beer, but the holiday started out as a religious festival. Up until the 1970’s Irish pubs were ordered to be closed on the day.
3. St. Patrick died on March 17. Not really a festive occasion, but we sure celebrate it anyway!
4. St. Patrick didn’t drive any snakes out of Ireland. Apparently the snakes represent the pagans he converted to Christianity. Reportedly there were never any snakes to drive out, since Ireland is a water locked country and no snakes could get to it anyway.
5. St. Patrick wasn’t always a Christian. St. Patrick came from a wealthy family, and didn’t have a spiritual conversion until he went through his kidnapping experience at 16. He was raised by a Christian family who were Romans living in Scotland or Wales, but said that he didn’t truly convert until after he was kidnapped.
6. The consumption of Guinness doubles on St. Patricks day. 5.5 million pints are consumed in an average day. The number rises to 13 million on St. Patrick’s Day. The Irish love their Guinness and brought the habit with them when they immigrated to the US.
7. There are more Irish people in the United States than there are in Ireland. During the potato famine millions of Irish immigrated to the United States. There are now over 34 million people in the United States of mixed Irish descent and only 4.2 million in Ireland.
8. St. Patrick’s day began in the United States as a political holiday. When poor Irish immigrated to the United States en masse, they were discriminated against and looked down upon. They organized and began observing the holiday to show their solidarity and might.
9. 4 leaf clovers are rare. Your odds of finding one are about 1 in 10,000.
10. St. Patrick’s day was first celebrated in the United States. The first St. Patrick’s day celebration was held in Boston in 1737.