By Kevin Hebert and Hannah Womack
Patrick was not even Irish.
He was born in Britain, but kidnapped by Irish Raiders when he was 16 years old. He was
in captivity for 6 years and once he was freed he converted to Christianity. He spent the rest
of his life working as a Christian missionary in Ireland.
The parade tradition started in America.
After the potato famine hit Ireland in the 1840s, hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens
poured into New York City, Boston and other popular American cities. The first record of a parade
was in New York and dates back to 1762 when a group of British and Irish soldiers marched
to a Tavern in lower Manhattan—today it is the longest and largest St. Patty’s day parade.
St. Patrick’s color isn’t green.
The traditional color associated with Patrick was a shade of blue. Obviously green is the color
of St. Patrick’s Day, but he was originally known to be dressed in blue in his portraits. Green later
became the color because of the lush greenery in Ireland. The entire Emerald Isle is covered in green.
St. Patrick’s was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970.
Everybody knows that St. Patrick’s Day involves drinking, lot of it. But from 1903 to
1970 Irish law declared it a religious observance for the entire country. All of the pubs had
to be closed on March 17. In 1970, St. Patty’s Day was reclassified as a national holiday,
which meant green beer for all!
Patrick wasn’t really a saint.
It’s widely assumed that Saint Patrick, because of his name, is an officially recognized
saint. Actually, “Saint” Patrick has never been canonized by any Catholic Pope. In his time,
canonization was a local process instead of a Vatican one. To this day, no Pope has taken
the time to officially canonize him.
The shamrock had another use.
Another popular image for St. Patrick’s Day is the shamrock. According to stories, St.
Patrick used the clover as a symbol for the Holy Trinity in an attempt to spread Christianity.
In reality, people did not recognize or wear this symbol until the 17th century.
St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in space.
St. Patrick’s Day has actually been celebrated in space twice. In 2013, the Canadian
Astronaut Chris Hadfield photographed Ireland from the ISS, and then proceeded to offer
his own rendition of Danny Boy.
Info from National Geographic, Tech Times, The Eastern Journal and Enterprise, Catholic.org and The History Channel