St. Patrick’s Day. Ah, that day full of all-things Irish, leprechauns, clovers, pots ‘o gold, and copious amounts of alcohol.
A time to eat corned beef and cabbage, drink green beer, and dance around like no one is watching.
You send your kids off to school wearing the mandatory green shirt, you hit up the Irish Pub in town for lunch or dinner, you talk in your worst Irish accent, and you post memes of cute green kitties and funny leprechaun jokes.
It’s a fun day, but do we know WHY we celebrate this infamous holiday where the Chicago River is dyed green?
There really is a backstory to St. Patrick’s Day. This day of festive uproariousness.
1- You probably know there really was a guy known as St. Patrick. He lived in the 5th century, and is known as the patron saint of Ireland. Did you know, however, he probably was not Irish at all? He was most likely of British lineage but born in Scotland. Mind blown.
2- Although we call it Saint Patrick’s Day, Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat. St. Maweyn’s Day just doesn’t sound quite as good.
3- Many people have heard the legend of how St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. This cute story has been the subject of songs, books, and even cartoons, but this tale is actually a myth. The story was probably told as a parable to represent how St. Patrick dealt with the paganism in Ireland at the time.
4- We are celebrating his life and death on March 17th. He is said to have been born and died on the same date, roughly 78 years apart. Although nobody knows the exact REAL date of his birth or death, this is the chosen day we celebrate every year. Slàinte to you, St. Patrick.
5- What started as a day religious feasts in the 17th century, St. Patrick’s day has morphed into a day full of all-kinds of festivals, from dancing, to drinking, to leprechauns, to wearing green, to clovers. All of these festivals have two thing in common: they celebrate Irish culture around the world and there is a love for all things GREEN.
6- There is a story that St. Patrick used the clover as a tool to teach his Godly message to Ireland. It is said that the clover may have been a reflection of the religious trinity used by St. Patrick when he preached against paganism in Ireland. On a related note: Has anyone ever actually found a FOUR-leaf clover? I don’t believe they exist.
7- My personal favorite thing about St. Patrick’s day: why I wear green from my head down to my socks. It is said that leprechauns will pinch anyone they can see. Those tricky little devils! The tradition of wearing green was probably started by immigrants who wore green as a camouflage against those devious little dudes. If the leprechauns couldn’t see them, they couldn’t pinch them!
There you have it! Seven (pretty much useless) facts about St. Patrick’s Day you can use next time you are playing bar trivia. Even better, bust them out to impress your kids.
I’m sure you’ll get an eye roll or two out of these gems!