If you want to celebrate the Irish holiday of St. Patrick’s Day and join in the festivities, but don’t know much about the holiday, these fun facts will give you a better understanding.
Did you know that St. Patrick’s Day is the death of the non-Irish St. Patrick?
You may also wonder why we wear green on that day, since St. Patrick usually wore blue, or why the day is called “St. Patrick’s Day” in the first place.
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And why has the day become a drinking holiday since it was a dry, religious holiday?
Read on for special facts about St. Patrick’s Day.
Although St. Patrick’s Day was more than a religious holiday, today it is a day full of parades, drinking and celebrating Irish heritage. (Matthew Hinton/AFP via Getty Images)
St. Patrick’s Day used to be a religious holiday. Patrick was really Great Britain. Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was in the United States, not Ireland. Patrick’s favorite color was blue, not green. Patrick’s Day used to be a dry holiday
1. St. Patrick’s Day used to be a religious holiday
Although the day has religious links, it has become more about Irish pride and heritage than religion.
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The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day dates back to the 9th or 10th century, according to The Daily Meal. Saint Patrick’s day, the patron saint of Ireland. March 17 marks the day he died.
As St. Patrick was the Christian who brought the religion to Ireland, the day was a religious celebration.
Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, the day Saint Patrick is said to have died. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
2. St. Patrick was really Great Britain
Did you know that St. Patrick wasn’t from Ireland? The story of Saint Patrick, according to The Daily Meal, is that he was born in the fourth century and was enslaved as a teenager. He was taken from Britain to Ireland, but escaped.
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He later returned to Ireland as a missionary to bring Christianity to the people there.
3. Saint Patrick’s birth name was Maewyn Succat
Although many details of her life are not known, according to Biography.com, her birth name was Maewyn Succat. He later changed his name to Patricius or Patrick when he became a priest, according to Time magazine.
4. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was in the United States
Ireland wasn’t the first to hold a St. Patrick’s Day parade. In fact, it was celebrated in the United States.
Records show that the first parade took place in what is now St. Augustine, Florida, in 1601, according to History.com.
One of the oldest St. Patrick’s Day parades takes place in New York. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade became a major celebration in the United States beginning in 1762.
5. St. Patrick’s favorite color was blue, not green
Green is now the color of St. Patrick’s Day, but St. Patrick himself wore blue. The earliest depictions of St. Patrick show him wearing blue clothing, according to Smithsonian Magazine. If the official color of St. Patrick’s Day was blue, why is green the color associated with the day?
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There are several theories as to why green was the color of St. Patrick’s Day.
The first theory is linked to Irish folklore, which says that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns who like to stalk you, according to National Geographic. In order not to be pinched, he wears green.
Another reason green is shown around the world on St. Patrick’s Day, according to USA Today, is the green of the Irish flag. It is also said that St. Patrick used green tribels to teach about the Holy Trinity, according to Reader’s Digest.
6. Corned beef and cabbage started in the United States
The traditional corned beef and cabbage served on St. Patrick’s Day started in the US, not Ireland.
Corned beef and cabbage was served in the United States and has remained a St. Patrick’s Day staple. (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Corned beef was eaten by Irish immigrants when they came to the United States. It was a cheaper substitute for ham, according to Delish.
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Cabbage, like beef, was an inexpensive vegetable option for Irish immigrants.
7. St. Patrick’s Day was once a dry holiday
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular drinking days of the year today, but it wasn’t always that way.
This was due to the religious background of the day, according to Good Housekeeping. As it was a religious holiday, the bars were closed.
This did not change until the late 1970s.
Ashlyn Messier is a writer for Fox News Digital.