10 Things You Definitely Don’t Know About St. Patrick’s Day
Barack doesn’t even get to keep his shamrocks?! Learn why from our St Patricks Day facts below.
- St. Patrick was actually named Maewyn Succat. Legend suggests that he changed his name to Patricius, or Patrick derived from the latin word for “father figure”, after he became a priest.
- St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish – in fact, he was from Wales.
- St. Patrick was never canonised or given saint status by the Pope. The title of Saint was bestowed upon him through popular acclaim, which then just stayed.
- Green was always considered unlucky, so the colour for St. Patrick was actually blue and this colour was symbolic of Ireland for centuries. The Irish Presidential Standard is still this colour today.
- Ireland never had any snakes. Many people believe that the snakes were a metaphor for the druids or the pagans, however the first mention of snakes in relation to St. Patrick actually only came about 100 years ago.
- The shamrock was used, by St. Patrick, as a teaching tool. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland around A.D 432, and it is believed that he used the 3 leaves of the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity: God, Son & Holy Spirit.
- Until 1961, it was nearly impossible to have a pint on Paddy’s Day. Ireland is traditionally a heavily Catholic country and because March 17th falls during Lent it was seen as sinful to be engage in major celebrations involving alcohol. In fact, a law was brought in where no pubs were permitted to open on March 17th – in Dublin the only place you could get a pint on St. Patrick’s Day, before 1961, was the RDS Dog Show.
- St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in a small number of places outside of Ireland; the canadian provinces of Labrador and Newfoundland and also the small Caribbean island of Montserrat. The latter is a tiny island, of four thousand inhabitants, which became home to a large number of Irish people during the 17th century.
- The first parade took place in the US, not Ireland. A group of Irish emigrants organised the first parade, in Boston in 1737, to celebrate their Irish heritage.
- Every year, the Taoiseach presents a crystal bowl of shamrocks to the US President. Gifts of food or floral items are forbidden and so the Secret Service immediately destroy the shamrocks, after the presentation has take place.