The history of St. Patrick’s Day is often muddled, and many of the traditions from it do not actually come from the Emerald Isle itself, but rather from the Americanized versions and celebrations of this holiday where everyone gets to be Irish. The following are some interesting trivia bits and facts about St. Patrick himself, and the traditions and customs surrounding this holiday.
1. St. Patrick loved Irish tales so much he declared they could only be told in poetic verse from then on. That is why many of the tales of leprechauns and pots of gold, etc. are now songs or poems. In fact, in the time of St. Patrick, poets were held in as high esteem as kings, receiving the best food and the highest pay for their labors.
2. What we think of when we think St. Patrick’s Day, is very different from how it is celebrated in Ireland. We have a version that is more American than Irish. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, and as such shops and businesses are closed, schools are closed, etc. and people are meant to spend time with their families.
3. When St. Patrick was in Ireland, the flag was blue, green was considered bad luck. It represented the tyranny of the rulers, and the oppression of the people.
4. The shamrock represents the Godhead. The reason a four leafed clover is considered lucky is because it is said to represent God the Father, His Son, The Holy Spirit, and the grace of God. Thus, whoever finds it is bestowed with the Grace of God.
5. According to Irish tales a Leprechaun is a rich, mean, little shoemaker, not a fairy that hides gold.
6. Kissing a blarney stone is supposed to remove shyness giving you the gift of gab. It has no luck associated with it, just a special power to unleash the tongue.
7. The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in America was in 1737 hosted by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston. However, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City.
8. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 because that is the day that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland is said to have died. However, many people think it might also be his birth date.
9. The only thing known for certain about St. Patrick is that he was not born in Ireland. Everything else is speculation, backed by some journals, word of mouth stories and tales passed down through generations.
10. According to legend, St. Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland and into the sea through the power of God. He used this as a way to help convert many to Christianity.
So there you have it, most of the traditions today have nothing to do with Ireland, and everything to do with America.