Celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland
Saint Patrick’s Day is observed by the Irish community worldwide on March 17th. This important holiday is celebrated with great enthusiasm in places like the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Montserrat. The Irish people have spread the festivities of this day all around the world.
We have gathered 10 interesting facts about Saint Patrick’s Day to help you learn more about this celebration!
1. Historical Origins
Saint Patrick is one of the most famous patron saints of Ireland. According to legend, he introduced Christianity to the island, used the shamrock plant to explain the Holy Trinity, and banished snakes from Ireland. The commemoration of Saint Patrick’s death has been observed for over 1500 years and is considered a religious holiday in Ireland.
2. Official Celebration!
Official celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland only began in 1903. As the Emerald Isle is predominantly Catholic and the holiday falls during the lent season, the festivities were initially more subdued. However, in the 1960s, a law was passed that allowed pubs to open on St. Patrick’s Day. (But please, never call it St. Paddy’s Day!)
3. The Former Patron Saint Was Called Maewyn
Saint Patrick was not actually an Irishman named Patrick. Born as Maewyn Succat, the patron saint of Ireland was actually English. According to legend, he was captured and enslaved in Ireland as a teenager, then converted to Catholicism, escaped to England, changed his name to Patrick, and began converting the Irish people to Christianity.
4. Driving Out the Snakes
Legend has it that when Saint Patrick first arrived in Ireland, he drove all the snakes out of the country. However, according to biologists, snakes have never existed in Ireland. The snake symbolism is interpreted as the eradication of pagan beliefs that Saint Patrick achieved during his mission.
5. The Popularity of the Shamrock
It is believed that Saint Patrick used the shamrock (also known as clovers) to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Irish people. The Celts believed that each leaf of a clover had a meaning, and so using the three-leafed clover as a teaching aid was effective. Saint Patrick built numerous churches, schools, and monasteries and popularized the symbol of the three-leafed clover.
6. All Things Green
Green is the color associated with Saint Patrick’s Day. On this day, you can see everything turning green, from food like cakes and beer to hair and accessories. Even rivers, monuments, and even ski slopes turn green to commemorate the occasion.
7. From Kelly Green to Emerald Green
While everyone becomes green on Saint Patrick’s Day, the patron saint himself seems to prefer emerald green, as evidenced by the old Irish flag. During the 1798 Irish rebellion, wearing clovers and donning green attire became a symbol of nationalism, but unfortunately, the rebellion ultimately failed.
8. Join the Parade
Besides drinking and dressing in green, watching or participating in parades is a perfect way to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Interestingly, the largest Saint Patrick’s Day parades are held outside of Ireland, organized by Irish communities around the world who take this festival very seriously. Check out some of the most prominent parades associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in this article.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, the consumption of Guinness beer worldwide nearly triples, from 5.5 million cans per day to 13 million cans. That’s equivalent to 150 cans per second! Cheers!
10. Nom Nom Nom
Corned beef and cabbage is a delicious traditional dish enjoyed with beer, although it was actually invented by Irish immigrants in New York. This explains why in the United States, over 26 billion pounds of beef and over 2 billion pounds of cabbage are consumed during the holiday season.
By the way, there is a speculated connection between the character played by Samuel L. Jackson in the movie “Snakes on a Plane” and Saint Patrick. And I believe that’s absolutely accurate.
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