Getting ready to drink green beer and shout "Erin go Bragh" next weekend? Get in the Saint Patrick's Day spirit with these little-known facts about this annual March holiday. Plus, we've got St. Patrick's Day shirts you can wear next weekend and enjoy year round! First the facts:
1. Americans have been celebrating Saint Patrick's day even longer than the Irish! The first St. Patrick's day celebration in the U.S. took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737. It wasn't even a national holiday in Ireland until 1903. Today there are more people in the U.S. with Irish ancestry than there are people actually living in Ireland.
2. Saint Patrick wasn't even originally named Patrick. His birth name is believed to be Maewyn Succat. He changed it to Patrick when he became a priest. He also was not born in Ireland. He was born in the British Isles and didn't arrive in Ireland until age 16 as a kidnapped slave. He eventually escaped several years later, fled to England, took refuge in a monastery, and became a priest. Later he returned to Ireland to bring Christianity to the Irish people. I know this makes it seem like Patrick was British, but technically, Patrick would've been a Roman citizen since the British Isles were under Roman rule when Patrick was born.
3. Patrick also did not drive snakes out of Ireland. This is because Ireland had no snakes to begin with, according to fossil records. This makes sense because the land mass that is now Ireland would've been much too cold for snakes before the last Ice Age. Even once the Ice Age ended, Ireland was left as an island with no way for snakes to reach it. The leading theory on this myth is that it was actually meant to be a metaphor. Patrick didn't drive out literal serpents, but instead helped eradicate paganism in Ireland.
4. Saint Patrick's Day was not always a day to get drunk — at least not in Ireland. For most of the 20th century, pubs in Ireland were closed on March 17th since it was considered a religious holiday. Irish pubs only started being open in Ireland on March 17th around 1970.
5. The color commonly associated with Saint Patrick wasn't always green. He was originally associated with the color blue. Green didn't become associated with St Patrick's Day until the 18th century, when Irish independence activists used the color to represent their advocacy for independence from England.
6. Four-leaf clovers were not traditionally associated with St Patrick's Day. Four-leaf clovers are thought to be lucky due to their rarity, but three-leaf clovers — commonly referred to as "shamrocks" — are the traditional symbol of Irish national pride, although the harp is more commonly regarded as the symbol of Ireland. Interest in four-leaf clovers as a symbol for good luck is universal and can be found in many cultures. The most leaves ever recorded on a clover was 56 in Japan in 2009. That's a lot of luck!
7. The Blarney Stone isn't associated with Saint Patrick, either. The Blarney Castle wasn't built until over 1,000 years after St. Patrick's death.
8. Saint Patrick's Day is a pretty serious boon for Guinness. Approximately 13 million pints of this popular Irish beer are consumed worldwide on St. Patrick's Day.
Looking for a stylish St Patrick's Day shirt that you can enjoy year-round? Of course you are! Who wants a shirt they can only wear on March 17th?! Our favorite picks for your St Patrick's Day outfit include these four funny drinking shirts — all available in green of course, lest you get pinched!
That's it until next week!
Peace, love, and pints,