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14 facts about St Patrick

by Sajid Ali 28 Feb 2024 0 Comments

Saint Patrick's Day is an annual celebration observed on the 17th of March, primarily in Ireland but also in various parts of the world with Irish communities. 

The day commemorates Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and is marked by a variety of festivities, traditions, and cultural symbols. 

Here we will discuss the history and legends surrounding Saint Patrick and some interesting facts that contribute to the rich tapestry of Irish heritage.

  1. Saint Patrick’s Day is on 17th March

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated annually on March 17th, marking the death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. While it is a significant cultural and religious celebration in Ireland, it is also widely observed in various countries around the world, particularly in areas with large Irish diaspora communities.

The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating Irish heritage and culture. What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century has evolved into a global festival, known for its vibrant parades, wearing of green attire, and the consumption of traditional Irish food and drink.

  1. They celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland

Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and in some parts of Canada. In Ireland, the day is celebrated with religious services, parades, festivals, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. It is a time for people to come together to honor Saint Patrick's legacy and celebrate Irish culture and identity.

The festivities often include traditional Irish music and dancing, as well as the consumption of traditional Irish foods and beverages, such as corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, and Guinness stout.

  1. Saint Patrick was a bishop in Ireland

Saint Patrick is widely recognized as the patron saint of Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people. Born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, Patrick was captured by Irish pirates at the age of sixteen and taken to Ireland as a slave. During his captivity, he worked as a shepherd before escaping and returning to his family.

After studying Christianity, Patrick returned to Ireland as a missionary bishop, where he spent the rest of his life spreading the Christian faith and establishing churches and monasteries. He is said to have performed miracles and baptized thousands of people, earning him the title of Ireland's apostle.

  1. It is believed that Saint Patrick got rid of all the snakes in Ireland

One of the most enduring legends associated with Saint Patrick is the belief that he banished all the snakes from Ireland. According to tradition, Saint Patrick used his staff to drive the snakes into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on a hill.

This story is widely accepted and has become part of the Saint Patrick's Day folklore, there is little evidence to support the existence of snakes in Ireland during Saint Patrick's time. It is more likely that the tale is symbolic, representing Saint Patrick's efforts to rid Ireland of pagan beliefs and practices, rather than literal snakes.

  1. The shamrock is a symbol of Ireland

The shamrock, a three-leaved plant, is a symbol closely associated with Ireland and Saint Patrick's Day. According to legend, Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to the Irish people during his missionary work. 

The shamrock has since become a symbol of Ireland and is often worn or displayed on Saint Patrick's Day as a sign of Irish identity and pride. In addition to its religious significance, the shamrock is also a popular motif in Irish folklore and culture, representing luck, faith, and the arrival of spring. Today, the shamrock is used as a decorative element in Saint Patrick's Day celebrations, appearing on flags, clothing, and decorations associated with the holiday.

  1. There will be lots of leprechauns about!

Leprechauns, mischievous and elusive Irish folklore creatures, are often associated with Saint Patrick's Day. Legend has it that leprechauns are small, bearded men who wear green coats and hats and are known for their love of mischief and hidden pots of gold.

According to tradition, if you catch a leprechaun, he must grant you three wishes in exchange for his freedom. While leprechauns are a popular symbol of Irish culture and Saint Patrick's Day, they are purely mythical creatures and are not typically part of the religious celebrations associated with the holiday. Nonetheless, leprechauns are often depicted in Saint Patrick's Day decorations, parades, and festivities, adding a whimsical touch to the celebrations.

  1. The Chicago River is turned green every year to celebrate!

In Chicago, Illinois, Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated with a unique and colorful tradition: dyeing the Chicago River green. Since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green every Saint Patrick's Day as part of the city's celebrations. The tradition began when members of the local plumbers' union used dye to trace illegal sewage discharges into the river, inadvertently turning the water green. Today, the dyeing of the Chicago River has become one of the city's most iconic Saint Patrick's Day traditions, attracting thousands of spectators to watch as the river is transformed into a vibrant shade of green. The event typically takes place in the morning before the city's annual Saint Patrick's Day parade, kicking off a day of festivities and celebrations across Chicago.

  1. There are usually Saint Patrick’s Day parades!

Saint Patrick's Day parades are a hallmark of the holiday celebrations in many cities and towns around the world. Originating in Ireland, where the first Saint Patrick's Day parade is believed to have taken place in the 18th century, these parades have since become a global phenomenon, with millions of people participating in or attending parades each year.

 In addition to showcasing Irish culture and heritage, Saint Patrick's Day parades often feature marching bands, floats, dancers, and other performers, as well as colorful costumes and decorations. These parades are a festive and inclusive celebration of Irish identity and pride, bringing together people of all backgrounds to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in style.

  1. If you’re not wearing green, you might get a pinch!

Wearing green on Saint Patrick's Day has become a widespread tradition, particularly in countries like Ireland and the United States. According to folklore, wearing green on Saint Patrick's Day makes you invisible to leprechauns, who are said to pinch anyone they can see.

As a result, people often wear green clothing, accessories, or shamrock-themed items on Saint Patrick's Day to avoid being pinched. In some places, not wearing green on Saint Patrick's Day may result in playful pinching or teasing from friends or family members, although the practice is usually done in good spirits and with a sense of humor.

  1. Lots of yummy traditional food is eaten.

Saint Patrick's Day is also celebrated with delicious traditional Irish food and drink. One of the most iconic Saint Patrick's Day dishes is corned beef and cabbage, a hearty and flavorful meal consisting of cured beef brisket cooked with cabbage, potatoes, and other vegetables.

Another popular Saint Patrick's Day food is Irish stew, a rich and savory dish made with lamb or beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and herbs. Additionally, traditional Irish soda bread, made with flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk, is a staple of Saint Patrick's Day feasts. To wash it all down, many people enjoy a pint of Guinness stout, Ireland's famous dark beer, or other Irish beverages such as whiskey or Irish cream liqueur.

  1. St Patrick’s Day parades began in America, not Ireland

While Saint Patrick's Day is widely associated with Ireland, the tradition of holding parades to celebrate the holiday actually began in the United States, not Ireland. 

The first Saint Patrick's Day parade took place in New York City in 1762, organized by Irish soldiers serving in the British Army. Since then, Saint Patrick's Day parades have become an integral part of the holiday celebrations in cities and towns across America, as well as in other countries with large Irish communities.

These parades feature colorful floats, marching bands, bagpipers, dancers, and other performers, attracting thousands of spectators each year.

  1. Saint Patrick didn’t wear green

Contrary to popular belief, Saint Patrick did not actually wear green. The color most commonly associated with Saint Patrick's Day was historically blue, not green.

 Blue was long considered the color of Ireland, and Saint Patrick is often depicted wearing blue robes in religious artwork and iconography.

It wasn't until the 19th century that green began to be associated with Saint Patrick's Day, largely due to its symbolic connection to Ireland's lush green landscape and the shamrock, a plant traditionally associated with Saint Patrick. Over time, green became the predominant color of Saint Patrick's Day celebrations, both in Ireland and around the world, eclipsing the historical association with blue.

  1. St. Patrick wasn't actually Irish?

Despite being the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick was not actually Irish by birth. He was born in Britain, then part of the Roman Empire, in the late 4th century.

 At the age of sixteen, Patrick was captured by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave, where he spent six years working as a shepherd. During his captivity, Patrick turned to Christianity for solace and comfort, eventually escaping and returning to Britain.

After studying Christianity further, Patrick felt called to return to Ireland as a missionary, where he spent the rest of his life spreading the Christian faith and establishing churches and monasteries. Despite his British origins, St. Patrick is widely revered in Ireland as the country's patron saint, and his legacy is celebrated annually on March 17th.

  1. The patron saint formerly known as Maewyn

St. Patrick was not originally named Patrick. He was born Maewyn Succat, the son of a Roman-British army officer, in the late 4th century.

After being captured by Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave, Maewyn adopted the name Patrick, derived from the Latin name Patricius, meaning "nobleman" or "son of a nobleman." It was during his time in captivity and subsequent conversion to Christianity that Maewyn took on the name Patrick, becoming known as St. Patrick following his ordination as a bishop.

The name change symbolized his transformation from a young slave into a revered religious figure and missionary, whose legacy continues to be celebrated and honored to this day.


FAQ's

How many days until St. Patrick's Day?

The number of days until St. Patrick's Day depends on the current date. As of today, it is XX days until St. Patrick's Day.

How long did St. Patrick live?

St. Patrick is believed to have lived for approximately 72 years. He was born around the year 385 AD and passed away on March 17, 461 AD.

Why was St. Patrick so special?

St. Patrick is considered special for his role as a missionary and bishop in Ireland. He is credited with spreading Christianity, establishing churches, and using symbols like the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. His efforts played a significant role in the Christianization of Ireland.

What color did St. Patrick wear?

Contrary to popular association with green on St. Patrick's Day, historical depictions show that St. Patrick wore blue robes, not green.

What does "Patrick" mean?

The name "Patrick" is of Latin origin and means "noble" or "nobleman." St. Patrick adopted this name when he became a priest, and it is the name by which he is widely known and celebrated today.



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