St. Patrick Day’s is a whimsical holiday that is just plain fun. Between shamrocks, rainbows (complete with a pot of gold) and those mischievous leprechauns, there is just a lot to like about St. Patrick’s Day. However, while most people know about the wearing of the green to avoid those annoying pinches, there is lots more to this Irish based holiday. Here are 10 fun things you may not know about St. Patrick’s Day-
1. It’s not a public holiday everywhere-St. Patrick’s Day is only celebrated as a public holiday in a few places around the world. Of course it is a national holiday in Ireland, along with the small nations of Newfoundland, Labrador and the tiny Caribbean nation of Montserrat. While it is one of the most widely celebrated holidays around the world, everywhere else it is a regular day for work or school.
2. Shamrocks are not just for picking-On St. Patrick’s Day; many of the Irish will wear a small nosegay of shamrocks on the hats or coats. School age children will wear badges of orange, white and green, while most girls and women will wear green ribbons in their hair.
3. There’s always a parade-The parade is the most common aspect of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across the world. From Dublin, the capital of Ireland to San Francisco, people pour out to view and be in the St. Patrick’s Day parades. Many of the parades in the United States are over 100 years old, making it a family tradition for many families to watch the parade together on St. Patrick’s Day.
4. It wasn’t always green-You may be surprised to learn that the original color of St. Patrick’s Day was blue! The color of green didn’t become associated with St. Patrick’s Day until way into the 19th century. The Irish people believed green was the sign of life and rebirth, and was the color that was worn by fairies and leprechauns.
5. There never were snakes in Ireland-One of the most famous stories about St. Patrick is that he drove all of the snakes out of Ireland, and into the sea where they drowned. While there is no denying that this makes for an exciting story, the reality is that scientist have never found any evidence that snakes ever lived in Ireland. Most likely the snakes in the story represented something else.
6. Green is everywhere-There are many cities that don’t hesitate to spread the green wherever they can. In Chicago, they dye the Chicago River green, in Savannah the fountains throughout the city are filled with green dye and in Seattle a green stripe is added to many roadways.
7. There is a lot of drinking-Despite being a religious based holiday there is a lot of drinking that goes on. There is a custom of having a shamrock float on the top of a whiskey before drinking it. It is believed by many Irish that you will have a very good year if you keep this custom. In the United States, there are many bars that serve beer that is tinted green in order to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.
8. It is a religious holiday for some-Most Catholics view this holiday as religious so they attend mass in the morning and then go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
9. The Irish influence is felt here-There are nine cities throughout the United States that have the name of Dublin. You can also visit Shamrock, Oklahoma and Texas.
10. The most surprising fact of all may be that the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1737, and not in Ireland, but Boston!