Sunday, March 17, 2024

Around the World From Home: 7 Interesting St. Patrick's Day Facts

Haigh (hi) Butterflies! Like so many others, I've participated in the fun traditions that are apart of the "St. Patrick's Day" holiday for as long as I can remember but the only thing I truly knew until recently was 1) it's always celebrated on the 17th day of March and 2) you have to wear green to avoid being pinched. This year I decided to do some research about this green holiday and here’s what I've learned...

1) Who was St. Patrick? St. Patrick was born in 385 AD somewhere along the west coast of Britain, possibly in the Welsh town of Banwen to Italian parents, his official nationality is Roman. At age 16, he was captured and sold into slavery to a sheep farmer in Ireland. He escaped when he was 22 and spent the next 12 years in a monastery. In his 30s he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. He died at Saul in 461 AD and is buried at Downpatrick.

2) Is it St. Patty or St. Paddy? If you ask someone of Irish descent, the correct answer is probably going to be St. Paddy. Patrick is the English version of the Irish name Pádraig which is often shortened to Paddy.

3) Why is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated annually on March 17th? St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD. It is also a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland and a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

4) Where is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated? St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world and even in outer space. Astronaut Cady Coleman once played a Irish flute via the satellite of NASA’s International Space Station to honor the occasion.

5) What’s with all the Green? The wearing of green and pinching origins are still unknown but many believe it's an American tradition that probably started in the early 1700s. St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green). People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch anyone not wearing green.

6) Why are clovers so important? Each leaf of the clover has been appointed a beautiful representation by the Irish people: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.

7) What do the Irish really eat on St. Patrick’s Day? In the US it’s common to see corned beef, cabbage, and green beer on St. Patrick’s Day but, Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Soda Bread, and apple cake are actually more traditional Irish foods. As for drinking, Barry’s Tea, Irish Coffee, Guinness beer, and Jameson Irish Whiskey are some of the more popular beverage choices in Ireland. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Also, if you’re looking to partake in some traditional Irish festivities without leaving the country, check out my list of Cultural Events in Texas which includes the annual North Texas Irish Festival that takes place every March in Dallas, Texas. 

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