Fun Facts about St. Patricks Day

Posted by dwallace on March 17, 2010 in Fun Facts, Saint Patricks Day, St. Patrick's Day |

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but did you know that there is some controversy over whether it should be St. Patrick’s Day or St. Patricks Day? Some say it should be without the apostrophe because some people believe that there were actually two Patricks. (I left the apostrophe off in the title because people searching probably won’t put one on.) Either way, St. Patrick is known for bringing Christianity to the pagans of Ireland over 1500 years ago.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is treated as a nation holiday and more of a holy-day. People go to mass and then go home.

Here in the United States, it’s a completely different story. Every American has a little Irish in them on St. Patrick’s Day. Some “real” Irish take the day off of work to start drinking at 6:00 am and are completely shit-faced by noon. Others wait until after work to go to an “Irish Pub,” which is no different from any other bar, except they have a neon shamrock in the window and serve Guinness on tap.

My family’s Irish on both sides. My mom’s side is from the Riley Clan and my dad’s side is Scots-Irish, hence the name Wallace. Our family’s St. Patrick’s Day tradition is we go to my mom’s for corned beef and cabbage. Can’t get more Irish than that right? Wrong. Corned beef used to be a cheaper alternative than beef back in the day in New York. New York Irish stole this idea from the New York Jews.

Here are some other American fun-“facts” about St. Patrick’s Day that are false:

1. Green is not associated with St. Patrick, blue is.

2. St. Patrick didn’t drive out the snakes in Ireland—there haven’t been any in Ireland since the ice ages. Some people feel that the “serpents” that have been referred as being “driven out” were actually the Druids.

3. America has a longer history of St. Patrick’s Day celebration than Ireland does. America started organized celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in 1737. Ireland didn’t start having an organized celebration of the Day until 1996.

4. And finally, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish, he was Roman-Britton. (From the Roman-controlled area of Brittan.) He was kidnapped as a teenager and brought to Ireland. He later escaped, made it back home, only to return to Ireland after having visions of Saint Victricius.

So the next time you’re drinking your green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Paddy’s Day, remember that this is more of an American holiday that it is an Irish one. And yes, it’s Paddy, not Patty. Patty is short for Patricia, not Patrick.

Please be safe out there and if you start seeing little leprechauns please don’t get behind the wheel. The only pot o’gold at the end of that rainbow ends up in the Paddy Wagon.

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