St. Patrick's Day Facts

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the funnest celebrations of the year. From wearing green and festive parades to leprechauns and St. Patrick himself, the special day has an amazing history with surprising beginnings. Read on to learn some captivating facts about the history and traditions of St. Patrick’s Day!

1) St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Ireland’s patron saint who converted the country to Christianity in the 5th century.

2) St. Patrick was born in Britain close to the end of the 4th century.

3) Irish raiders kidnapped St. Patrick when he was 16 and sold him as a slave to a Celtic priest in Ireland.

4) It’s believed that St. Patrick was buried in the town of Downpatrick, County Down, in Northern Ireland.

5) According to legend, St. Patrick lived to be 122 years old.

6) The first time Chicago dyed their river green was 1962.

7) The color originally associated with St.Patrick’s Day was blue. Green became the official color in 1798, the year of the Irish Rebellion.

8) There are nearly 35 million Americans with Irish ancestry. That’s over seven times the population of Ireland itself.

9) In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday with banks and businesses closed for the day.

10) A Pope never canonized St. Patrick, so his status as a saint is questionable.

11) According to legend, each leaf of a four-leaf clover has a unique and special meaning: Hope, Faith, Love and Luck.

12) The shamrock has been associated with Ireland for many centuries. St. Patrick, a Christian missionary, used the shamrock to help explain the Holy Trinity.

13) The shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade is just 100 yards long. It’s held in an Irish village and marks the distance between the two village pubs.

14) The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in America on March 17th, 1601.

15) During the 1970s Great Britain didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day due to violent conflict with parts of Ireland.

16) While of Irish origin, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on every continent.

17) Leprechauns originated from Celtic belief in fairies. In Celtic folklore, leprechauns were cranky, mischievous, and responsible for repairing the shoes of other fairies.

"May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold—and at the end of your rainbows may you find a pot of gold."

— Old Irish Blessing

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