Every year on March 17, the Irish & the Irish-at-heart across around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday started out as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland but has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture. From parades and yummy irish foods to dancing, and green everywhere you look, its a party.
My hometown, Colorado Springs, welcomes Spring with its annual St Patrick’s Day Parade.The celebration started 33 years ago, and this year it grows bigger. Thousands of runners, hundreds of cyclists and dozens of dancing groups, celtic bands, marching bands, schools, charities, businesses, and more for this IRISH DOWNTOWN CELEBRATION. If you’re in the area on March 11, 2017, join the fun. Be sure and wear your green!
Now, for the Saint Patrick’s Day fun facts!
#1 Did you know that we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on the day of the saint’s death, March 17th. He spent most his life converting pagans of Ireland to Christianity. His entrance to heaven was March 17, 461AD.
#2. How about this, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish, nor was he born in Ireland. His parents were Roman citizens living in either England, Scotland or Wales, the scholars can’t agree which country, there’s something unusual, NOT.
#3. Here’s a shocker, Saint Patrick was a slave. He had the misfortune of being kidnapped at sixteen years old by Irish raiders. They sold him as a slave. For several years he herded sheep and learned about the Irish people. By age twenty-two, he’d escaped and made his way to a monastery in England.
#4. Ever wonder why the shamrock became part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations? Because, Saint Patrick used the shamrock to preach about trinity. Now whether it was supposed to represent faith, hope and love or the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, remains a mystery. However, St Patrick must have been quite the inspirational speaker because Ireland’s pagan rulers at the time quickly converted to Christianity.
#5. Supposedly, St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. But I have to ask, if it was the reptiles “snakes” referred to or… a more figurative reference meaning pagan practices and their religious beliefs. I find it interesting to note that there isn’t any evidence that snakes, the reptile, ever existed in Ireland. Seems the weather is too cool for snakes to survive. This is all conjecture on my part, having never been to Ireland, but it’s on my bucket list!
#6. Everyone knows the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day is Green. Right? Not so fast. Originally the color blue represented St. Patrick. He was depicted in artwork wearing blue vestments. Also King Henry VII used the Irish harp in gold on a blue flag to represent the country. However, now days green is associated with Ireland, maybe due to the plentiful rainfall, creating the green countryside. Today, many refer to Ireland as the “Emerald Isle”.
#7. Nope, the Shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland. Surprised you didn’t I? Actually, since the medieval period, the harp has represented the nation. King Henry VII as early as 1534 used the harp on coins. Later the harp appeared on Irish flags, and Irish coats of arms. During Ireland’s struggle for freedom, the Irish people used harps on flags during rebellions against England. In 1921, Ireland became an independent county and adopted the harp as the national symbol.
#8. Did you know there are more Irish in the United States than in Ireland? ‘Tis true. No blarney. They may not all be pure-blood Irish, but of Irish ancestry just the same. Mixed ancestry could be due to the troubled history of Ireland and millions of Irish left the county for the US during the potato famine in Ireland. This exodus continued through most of the 19th century until the economic boom of the 1990’s, when more Irish stayed in their native country rather than searching for better opportunities abroad.
#9. What is your drink of choice on St. Patrick’sDay? A Shamrock milkshake? Green Beer? Bet you didn’t know that from 1903 to 1970, Irish law declared St. Patrick’s Day a religious holiday. That meant that all the pubs were shuttered for the day. In 1970 the law was overturned and St. Patrick’s became a national holiday, allowing the beer to flow once again.
#10. Bet you don’t know what the odds of finding a four-leaf clover are. I do, approximately 1 in 10,000. That’s way better than the lottery, but the luck of the four-leaf clover may flow your way.
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