They say that everyone is a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. The beer-fueled holiday that rolls around every March is rapidly approaching, and people are about to break out their best green outfits for the occasion.
But here are a few things that you should know before you go out and enjoy some brews. They could completely change the way you look at this drunken holiday.
1. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was actually British, and he was taken captive and brought to Ireland, where he was a prisoner for 6 years. After that, he returned home to England for religious training. He did eventually make his way back to Ireland.
2. According to Hallmark, St. Patrick’s Day cards are wildly popular. They produce about 100 different varieties each year.
3. St. Patrick never drove snakes out of Ireland, mainly because there weren’t any snakes there to begin with. In these legends, snakes represent the presence of evil.
4. St. Patrick’s name wasn’t even Patrick. He was born Maewyn Succat, but he took the name Patricius once he became a priest.
5. St. Patrick’s signature color was actually blue. The reason why it changed to green was because of the widely used green clover that was used as a symbol of St. Patrick during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
6. St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17 because that is the day of his death. It was originally a festival of great solemnity. Obviously, things have changed quite a bit since then.
7. St. Patrick used the shamrock — not the four-leaf clover — to spread the word of Christianity in Ireland. The 3 leaves were said to represent the Holy Trinity.
8. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was once a feast of solemnity, so all pubs were closed on that day. It wasn’t until the 1960s that they began to open their doors on March 17.
9. Having parades on St. Patrick’s Day is actually an American tradition.
10. The first official celebration of St. Patrick in Dublin wasn’t until 1931, and Belfast didn’t celebrate his life until the late ’90s because of the city’s Protestant population and resentment toward Irish National symbols.
11. Sales of Guinness soar on St. Patrick’s Day. On an average day, studies show that about 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed, but on St. Patrick’s Day, that number doubles.
Now that we have a better understanding of these traditions, let’s have a drink!