(PCM) Today is St. Patrick’s Day, so before donning the green clothing, drinking the green beer and chasing after a leprechauns pot of gold be sure to check out our list of some fun facts about the history of St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day falls on March 17th, which is the date of death for Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick. A little known fact is that St. Patrick was not actually Irish. He was actually Romano-British and named Maewyn Succat. He was captured by Irish pirates at the age of sixteen and only changed his name to Patrick after entering the priesthood.
The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762 in New York City, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through the city. The first actual celebration of the holiday occurred in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737. St. Patrick’s Day is now a big drinking holiday as consumers will drink roughly about thirteen million pints of Guinness today.
Surprisingly enough, St. Patrick’s Day used to be a non-drinking holiday as from the years of 1903 to 1970, bars were typically closed to honor the holiday.
Both the shamrock and the leprechaun are common images associated with the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. It is said that Saint Patrick used the shamrock as a metaphor to symbolize the Christian trinity, however it also dates back pre-Christian Ireland to symbolize the three deities in the pagan religion. The first mention of a leprechaun appears in medieval literature, however the original leprechaun was depicted wearing red before it was changed to green in the 20th century.
The color green has always been associated with the holiday, but if history is correct, we should all actually be sporting the color blue. St. Patrick’s official saint color was a light colored blue, and green was not linked to St. Patrick’s Day until the Irish Independence movement in the 18th century.
Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit of St. Patrick’s Day history and lore! Erin go Bragh (Ireland Forever)!