10 Very Interesting Facts about Saint Patrick’s Day

Date:16-03-2014 11:40:12 read:0

St Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday observed in Ireland to commemorate the death of the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. But besides the common beliefs including the green outfits and green beers, there are several facts about this day which can baffle you! Listed below are 10 such interesting facts about St Patrick’s Day.

1. St Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat, and he was born in 387 A.D.

2. St Patrick was a saint of the Catholic Church and though he spent most of his life converting Irish pagans to Christianity, neither was he Irish, nor was he born in Ireland. His parents were Roman citizens living in England and at the time St Patrick was born, the proliferation of the Christian religion was at its peak in Europe.

3. When St Patrick was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and was sold as a slave in Ireland. He lived and worked as a slave for almost six years and managed to escape only when he was 22 years old. The following decade he spent his time in a monastery in England.

4. The first St Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Ireland. In 1737, the first ever parade on St Patrick’s Day was held in Boston. It was organized by a handful of Irish emigrants in an endeavor to celebrate their heritage.

5. In 1961, John F Kennedy had just been elected and inaugurated as the US President and thus had plenty of work and preoccupations he had to attend to. He thus forgot about St Patrick’s Day altogether. When the Ireland ambassador, Thomas Kiernan arrived with a celebratory shamrock, the officials at the White House had to hastily arrange for a green tie for the President so he could pose for the photographs.

6. According to popular belief, green is the color associated with St Patrick and thus it is used extensively on this day. But St Patrick was actually associated with the color blue, and green was only an offshoot of Irish beliefs and legends.

7. As assumed and is known, St Patrick’s Day is not a national holiday only in Ireland. On an island in the Caribbean, called Montserrat, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated with as much enthusiasm as in Ireland. This is owing to the almost 4000 Irish people inhabiting the tiny island. They are descendants of the Irish emigrants who moved to Montserrat in the 17th century.

8. According to popular legend, St Patrick drove the snakes away from Ireland. But in reality there were never any snakes in Ireland because the weather there is not habitable for snakes. The term “snakes” may have been used to symbolize the pagan beliefs and practices during his time.

9. Nebraska, the capital of Ireland, houses the world’s largest shamrock. Up until the 1980s, a huge shamrock used to be drawn on the motorway every year. But in 1998, the townspeople collected money and made a permanent concrete shamrock, which is technically the world’s largest.

10. Drinking is a very popular activity associated with St Patrick’s Day complete with even accepted public drunkenness! But until 1970, the day was observed as a religious occasion in Ireland, drinking was prohibited and all pubs were shut. Later, the day was re-classified as a national holiday and allowed pubs to be open again.

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