It’s said that on St. Patrick’s Day everyone in the world is Irish. So here is a bit of trivia you can take into the pub with you to impress your friends on March 17th.
The Real St. Patrick
Amazingly, the real St. Patrick wasn’t an Irishman. He was born in Britain around A.D. 390. He wasn’t born a Catholic. In fact, he had no interest in religion or Christianity as a boy. At 16 he was kidnapped and sent to Ireland to tend sheep. At some point he underwent a deeply religious conversion and spent the rest of his life trying to convert the Irish to Christianity. He heard voices and had dreams which led him into his missionary work. According to folklore he died on March 17, 461. His name wasn’t really Patrick, his given name was Maewyn Succat. But, let’s face it, St. Maewyn’s Day doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Banishing the Snakes
It’s true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there never were any. In literature snakes often represent evil so the myth of St. Patrick driving snakes out of Ireland is metaphoric for ridding Ireland of it’s evil, Pagan ways.
On an average day about 5 million pints of Guiness are consumed worldwide, but on St. Patrick’s Day the number rises to more than 13 million pints of the dark Irish beer. Trading facts and debating trivia is a longstanding tradition in pubs around the world and is in fact how the Guiness Book of World Records got it’s start.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in Boston in 1737. Today more then 850,000 people attend that parade each year. The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade is in New York City and draws more then a million spectators annually. Truman was the first president to attend the parade. (1948)
33.7 million folks in the U.S. claim Irish ancestry. That number is nearly nine times the population of Ireland itself.
Wearing the Green
The color originally associated with St. Patrick was blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick and Ireland in the 19th century. Getting pinched for not wearing green is an American tradition. St. Patrick revelers thought wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns, who of course, like to pinch anyone they can see.
The Irish are famous for their colorful blessings (and curses). I’ll leave you with this one: “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!