Preparations for St. Patrick’s Day parade are in full swing. You may plan to dress like a Leprechaun, cook traditional Irish food and/or shop Irish inspired Celtic jewelry. However, how well do you know St. Patrick’s Day history and its corresponding symbols? If you truly want to celebrate the festival with enthusiastic Irish zeal, here are some mythical facts you should make yourself aware.
St. Patrick was not Irish. Several of us may be surprised to know that St. Patrick himself was not Irish. In fact, patron Saint of Ireland was actually British, kidnapped at the age of 16 and sent to Ireland as a slave. According to folklore, after he became a priest, Patrick heard a voice in a dream, telling him to go back to Ireland and spread Christianity.
Green was not St. Patrick’s color.
Several artworks of the Saint show him wearing blue. This shade was also used on flags and coats-of-arms to represent their nation. Later, blue was replaced by green because the color symbolizes greenness of ‘Emerald Isle’. In fact, green is a more appropriate representation for Ireland as the vegetation consists of wide stretches of green fields.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade started in America.
It is surprising to many celebrators, but St. Patrick’s Day parades started in America by Irish Americans to celebrate their culture and identity. The first parade took place in 1762, and these traditions, although evolved, continue today.
St. Patrick’s Day was a dry day in Ireland.
While we enjoy green themed beverages on St. Patrick’s Day, it was actually a dry celebration in native Ireland. In fact, all pubs were shut down on this day because Irish law, from 1903 through 1970, made our celebrated holiday a religious and cultural event.
USA has more Irish people than Ireland.
There are an estimated 34 Million Americans with Irish ancestry living in the United States. In terms of comparison, that is seven times the population of Ireland.
Four-leaf clovers are extremely rare.
Due to a recessive gene, which appears more seldom in nature, the probability of finding a four-leaf clover is 1 in 10,000. If you do find one, you surely have Irish luck.
Harp is the symbol of Ireland.
Although, Shamrock is probably the most popular symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, it is not the symbol of Ireland. Harp, one of the world’s most classic and traditional instruments, is the actual symbol of the country. It can be seen on Irish manuscripts, official papers and even gravestones.