by Owen Burt
History and Heritage
We all know that St Patrick’s Day is a celebration of all things Irish, but how much do you actually know about the patron saint of Ireland?
St Patricks Day 2020 falls on Tuesday 17th March, a public holiday for the people of Ireland to commemorate their patron saint. Instead of discovering where the best place is for a pint of Guinness, we thought we would dig deep and discover some surprising facts about St Patrick that you may not know.
Discover 9 hard-to-believe facts about St Patrick below…
Let’s begin with possibly the most surprising St Patrick’s Day fact of all. His name wasn’t actually Patrick.
Technically speaking, the 17th of March each year should mark St Maewyn’s Day. St Patrick’s real name was in fact Maewyn Succat, but he changed it to Patricius when he became a priest.
Another common misconception about the patron saint is that St Patrick wasn’t actually born in Ireland.
Roman Britain was the actual birthplace of St Patrick in the 4th century AD, however it is often debated whether it was in England, Wales or Scotland.
Today, St Patrick’s Day is known worldwide as being a day of non-stop drinking, singing and partying, however it wasn’t always this way.
For the most part of the 1900s, Paddy’s Day was celebrated as a highly religious holiday, which saw all the pubs and other businesses in Ireland close for the day.
When we go out and enjoy a pint of Guinness or 2 on St Patrick’s Day, our hats, face paint and t-shirts would traditionally be blue.
‘St Patrick’s blue’ was the original colour synonymous with this popular Irish holiday, this switched to green in conjunction with the Irish independence movement in the latter part of the 1700s.
Another surprising fact about St Patrick is that he technically isn’t even a Saint, as he was never formally canonised by a Pope. However, he is still widely considered a Saint in Heaven.
St Patrick is the reason that the shamrock is associated with Ireland, and St Patrick’s day in particular.
It is believed that Paddy used the three-leafed clover to explain the Holy Trinity while introducing Christianity to the people of Ireland.
Between the years of 1999 and 2007, the little Irish village of Dripsey put quality ahead of quantity as it hosted the shortest St Patrick’s Day Parade the world has ever seen.
The celebration ran a measly 26 yards between the village’s 2 pubs. Today, the shorts Paddy’s Day Parade is held in Arkansas, USA, spanning just 98 feet.
Finding Ireland’s lucky charm is more of a rare occurrence than you may think.
According to NASA, you are in fact over 3 times more likely to get hit by a meteorite than you are to find a 4-leaf clover.
For over 50 years, Chicago has celebrated St Patrick’s Day by dyeing its river bright green. This was originally done by mistake as a group of plumbers used dye in order to discover sources of illegal pollution, however the city saw it as a fitting tribute to Ireland’s favourite holiday.
Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, once requested that the fountains outside the White House were also dyed green.
The St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York has been running since 1762 and is the oldest and largest St Patrick’s Parade in the world.
Heading up Fifth Avenue from East 44th Street, the parade contains around 150,000 people, and an approximate 2 million come out to watch.
Truly get into the Irish spirit this St Patrick’s Day by sampling some of the most flavoursome traditional Irish foods.
I joined Sykes in June 2017, straight after graduating from the University of Derby with a degree in Journalism.
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