St. Patrick's day is a day to look forward to, no matter what day of the week the holiday falls on. Today's traditions include joy, parades, and a green version of everything you can think of, but St. Patrick's day as we know it is very different from its history.
St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.
St. Patrick was born to two Roman citizens in modern-day Scotland or Wales (historians could not narrow it down to either country).
The Shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland.
The symbol of Ireland is actually the harp, which has been used on Irish coins, the Irish flag, and several other items. It was used as a symbol during rebellions against England and became the national symbol when Ireland became an independent country in 1921.
There are more Irish in the America than in Ireland.
An estimated 34 million Americans claim Irish decent, whether they are pure-blood Irish, meaning they or their parents came from Ireland, or have a mixed ancestry. This number is over seven times the population of Ireland itself, which is about 4.2 million.
St. Patrick’s Day started in America.
The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737 and the first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York in 1762. It did not become a national holiday in Ireland until 1903 and the first parade in Ireland was in 1931 in Dublin.
There are no female Leprechauns.
In Irish folk tales, the elusive Leprechauns were always depicted as males.
Over 45 pounds of green dye is dumped in the Chicago River every year.
The tradition of turning the Chicago River green on St. Patrick’s day has been a staple of this holiday for over 40 years.