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Lesser known facts about St. Patrick’s Day

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There have been many legends attributed to St. Patrick throughout the centuries. St. Patrick’s Day began as a Holy Day in the Catholic Church, but over the years this religious Catholic saint’s day has turned into a more secular celebration of the upcoming spring. Here are a few lesser-known facts about St. Patrick’s Day:

  • The original color associated with St. Patrick was blue. Green became popular because of Ireland’s nickname, “The Emerald Isle,” and the green in the Irish flag and landscape.
  • March 17, the day of celebration, is the day of Patrick’s death.
  • St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Irish, was not from Ireland.
  • Patrick was a missionary in Ireland during the 4th century.
  • The shamrock, a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, was a plant with three leaves that Patrick used to demonstrate the Holy Trinity to the Irish.
  • Finding a four-leaf clover was considered a sign of great luck in Irish folklore. Over time it was merged with the use of shamrocks in St. Patrick’s Day decor.
  • The first St. Paddy’s Day parade in America was in 1737, 40 years before the Revolutionary War.
  • Since the early 60s, the city of Chicago has dyed the Chicago River green to celebrate. The dye is a vegetable-based coloring that lasts for about five hours.
  • New York City hosts the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world.
  • Until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on St. Patrick’s Day, since it was a religious holiday. The law was later repealed to promote tourism.
  • Astronauts have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on the ISS with specially prepared meals and green-tinted water.

So on March 17, wear something green, enjoy a green mocktail while you share these interesting facts with friends, and have fun “being Irish” for the day!