Every March 17, countries around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in observance of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland credited for bringing Christianity to the country. Initially a religious feast day in the 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a day of celebrating Irish culture with parades, music, dancing, special foods, and of course, a lot of green.
Global bar tab
All of the Saint Patrick’s Day revelry around the globe is great news for brewers. And that’s before tips to pubs’ bartenders. Thirteen million pints of Guinness will be consumed on the 2019 holiday. Nearly 154 percent more beer is sold on St. Patrick’s Day than any other holiday.
Saint Patrick was British
Although he made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, Patrick wasn’t Irish himself. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late fourth century.
There's a reason for the shamrocks
How did the shamrock become associated with Saint Patrick? According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.
There are no female leprechauns
Don’t be fooled by any holiday decorations showing lady leprechauns. In traditional Irish folk tales, there are no female leprechauns, only nattily attired little guys.
It's the thought that counts
While New York has a huge annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, and Chicago dyes its river green, not every city goes all-out in its celebratory efforts. From 1999 to 2007, the Irish village of Dripsey proudly touted that it hosted the Shortest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the World. The route ran for 26 yards between two pubs.
St Patrick's Day Fun Facts
We should really wear blue
Saint Patrick’s real color was a light shade of blue. The color green only became associated with the big day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
It used to be a ‘dry’ holiday
For most of the 20th century, Saint Patrick’s Day was considered a strictly religious holiday in Ireland, which meant that the nation’s pubs were closed for business on March 17. (The one exception went to beer vendors at the big national dog show, which was always held on Saint Patrick’s Day.) In 1970, the day was converted to a national holiday, and the stout resumed flowing.
The snakes did not happen
In Irish lore, Saint Patrick gets credit for driving all the snakes out of Ireland. Modern scientists suggest that the job might not have been too hard. Ireland has never been home to any snakes. Through the Ice Age, Ireland was too cold to host any reptiles, and the surrounding seas have staved off serpentine invaders ever since.
The lingo makes sense
You can’t attend a Saint Patrick’s Day event without hearing a cry of “Erin go Bragh.” What’s the phrase mean? It’s a corruption of the Irish Éirinn go Brách, which means roughly “Ireland Forever.”