Thursday, March 15, 2012
St Patrick’s Day is a uniquely Irish festival yet it is celebrated throughout the world. For those of you who are not totally tuned into what this special Irish day is about we’ve compiled some interesting facts.
1. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, although he was born in Britain, around 385AD. His parents Calpurnius and Conchessa were Roman citizens living in either Scotland or Wales, according to different versions of his story.
2. As a boy of 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery herding sheep. He returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary among the Celtic pagans.
3. Legend has it that he used the native shamrock as a symbol of the holy trinity when preaching and brought the Latin alphabet to Ireland.
4. Miracles attributed to him include the driving of serpents out of Ireland. However, evidence suggests post-glacial Ireland never had any snakes in the first place.
5. Wearing green, eating green food and even drinking green beer, is said to commemorate St Patrick's use of the shamrock - although blue was the original colour of his vestments.
6. St Patrick was said to have proclaimed that everyone should have a drop of the "hard stuff" on his feast day after chastising an innkeeper who served a short measure of whiskey. In the custom known as "drowning the shamrock", the shamrock that has been worn on a lapel or hat is put in the last drink of the evening.
7. Popular Irish toasts on St Patrick's Day, include: may the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.
8. St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in America in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. Around 34 million modern Americans claim Irish ancestry.
9. It is believed that St Patrick died on March 17 in 461AD. It is a national holiday in Ireland, and on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean, which was founded by Irish refugees. It is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
10. Dublin has a parade that attracts hundreds of thousands of people, while in Chicago the river is dyed green for a few hours. The biggest parade is normally held in New York, while the largest celebration in the southern hemisphere is in Sydney, Australia.
11. St. Patrick's Day is not just a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is also a holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, and in Montserrat in the West Indies.
12. St. Patrick's Day is the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world.
It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland)the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church.
13. St Patrick’s Day color was originally blue.
Originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue, but over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew.
In the 1798 Irish rebellion, in order to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms
14. Saint Patrick's feast day was already being celebrated by the Irish in Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries.
15. St Patrick’s Day made it onto the church calendar in the early 1600s thanks to Waterford Franciscan Luke Wadding.
16. In recent times, in 1940 and 2008, Saint Patrick's Day fell in Holy Week. It will not fall within Holy Week again until 2160. Hopefully they will still have Guinness, Jameson and parades then.
17. Birmingham, not the capital city, London, hosts the largest St.Patrick’s Day parade in Britain with a massive city centre parade over a two mile route through the city centre. The organisers describe it as the third biggest parade in the world after Dublin and New York.
18. The Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League used to be known as Toronto St. Patrick’s from 1919 to 1927 and wore green jerseys. In 1999, when they had a nationally televised game on St.Patrick’s night, they wore green again.
19. It is in Nome, Alaska, with a parade and a golf tournament. Everbody shoots over Brrrrr...!
20. Hot Springs Arkansas’s Bridge Street parade is the world's shortest because Bridge Street was named the shortest street in the world in the 1940s. The parade was declared "The Quirkiest St. Patrick's Day Parade on Earth" by Smithsonian Magazine in 2009.
Feel free to add anything that we've left out. Particular thanks to IrishCentral for helping with above info.