This Friday we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and in honor of all of our friends of Irish decent (and those who wish they were) here are a few facts about St. Patrick’s Day we thought you might enjoy.
St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD. It is also a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history.
In Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps. Children wear orange, white and green badges, and women and girls wear green ribbons in their hair.
Many cities have a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Dublin, the capital of Ireland, has a huge St. Patrick’s Day festival from March 15-19, that features a parade, family carnivals, treasure hunt, dance, theatre and more. In North American, parades are often held on the Sunday before March 17.
Some paint the yellow street lines green for the day! In Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green with a special dye that only lasts a few hours.
There has been a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston, Massachusetts since 1737. Montreal is home to Canada’s longest running St. Patrick’s Day parade, which began in 1824.
St. Patrick was born in 385 AD somewhere along the west coast of Britain, possibly in the Welsh town of Banwen. At age 16, he was captured and sold into slavery to a sheep farmer. He escaped when he was 22 and spent the next 12 years in a monastery. In his 30s he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. He died at Saul in 461 AD and is buried at Downpatrick.
34 million Americans have Irish ancestry, according to the 2003 US Census. That’s almost nine times the population of Ireland, which has 4.1 million people.
Some American towns have “Irish” names. You could visit: Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia; Shamrock Lakes, Indiana; Shamrock, Oklahoma; Shamrock, Texas; Dublin, California; and Dublin, Ohio.
The harp is the symbol of Ireland. The color green is also commonly associated with Ireland, also known as “the Emerald Isle.”
The Irish flag is green, white and orange. The green symbolizes the people of the south, and orange, the people of the north. White represents the peace that brings them together as a nation.
The name “leprechaun” has several origins. It could be from the Irish Gaelic word “leipreachan,” which means “a kind of aqueous sprite.” Or, it could be from “leath bhrogan,” which means “shoemaker.”
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the highest number of leaves found on a clover is 14! One estimate suggests that there are about 10,000 regular three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover. Legend says that each leaf of the clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.