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March 17th, all green everything, and the luck of the Irish. All three lead us to St. Patrick’s Day! Beyond these you may not know much about the traditions and meaning behind this day. Here are some of the top things you need to know about St. Patrick’s Day.
1. St. Patrick is one of Ireland’s patron saints and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. He is believed to have died on March 17 around the year 493.
2. St. Patrick’s day was originally a religious holiday to celebrate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and was made official by the Catholic Church in the 17th century.
3. According to popular legend St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland (it is possible this is referring to pagan worshipers or snake gods but there are no snakes in Ireland today).
4. The first ever recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland but New York. This official New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade began in 1762 and brings in two million people annually.
5. In Ireland there is a week dedicated to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with a parade in Dublin attracting over a million people.
6. St. Patrick’s day has been celebrated for 70 years in London. Manchester claims to have the biggest St. Patrick’s day parade in the UK. Birmingham draws over 100,000 people, and Edinburgh hosts a festival. There is a weekend full of activities in Nottingham. Needless to say, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated well all over the UK.
7. St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Northern Ireland, meaning most schools and businesses are closed and people get the day off.
8. One may attribute St. Patrick’s day to hours spent in a pub drinking but pubs were not allowed to be open on March 17 until the 1970s.
9. St. Patrick wasn’t actually from Ireland.
10. St. Patrick lived in England and at age 16 was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped and later returned to Ireland to follow a call to preach.
11. Many notable landmarks are lit-up or dyed green to commemorate this day.
12. Green is what we recognize as the colour of this day but it was originally blue. Green only became associated with this day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the 18th century.
13. St. Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat. It wasn’t until he became a priest that he changed his name.
14. A city in Arkansas, USA claims the title for the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the World at 30 meters.
15. It is estimated that the world will drink approximately 13 million pints of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day.
This upcoming St. Patrick’s Day is your opportunity to wow your friends with one of these great facts, pint in hand and sporting green of course!