Did you know that much of what you celebrate for St. Patrick’s Day, like wearing green, eating corn beef and cabbage, and believing in lucky leprechauns and pots of gold are not even Irish traditions. The following is a few fun trivia facts about St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and this Irish holiday celebrated around the world so that everyone can be Irish for a day:
1. One of the things credited to St. Patrick is ridding Ireland of snakes. According to legend, St. Patrick used the power of God and Christianity and drove all of the snakes out of Ireland and into the sea. This is one of the reasons he was so celebrated.
2. Green is a color that is considered unlucky in Ireland as it represents the time when they were in bondage and oppressed by their government. So, while according to American St. Patrick’s Day tradition, wearing green is lucky, and you get pinched if you don’t, most native Ireland inhabitants avoid the color on the holiday.
3. Corned beef and cabbage was originally made from bacon. In traditional Irish fare, the cabbage is boiled and served with salted pork, or bacon, but when the immigrants came to America, they could not afford bacon, and turned to the cheaper alternative of corned beef.
4. Reciting Irish tales through poetry is a big part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Ireland because St. Patrick loved Irish tales in poetic form so much that he declared in the church that it was the only form they could be told in.
5. St. Patrick was kidnapped from his homeland (not Ireland) as a boy, and taken to Ireland to be a slave. His devotion to religion and God is what got him through, so after escaping, he later returned to turn the people to Christianity.
6. St. Patrick was said to track, hunt, torture, and kill Druid priests, or duel them to show that the power from his Christian God was stronger than their powers. He eliminated many Druids this way.
7. In Ireland St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, and there is no work, school, etc. open that day.
8. The shamrock is a three leaf clover said to represent the three parts of the God head. St. Patrick deemed it the symbol of the God head, and determined that a 4-leaf clover was lucky because the fourth leaf was God’s grace bestowed upon the finder of it.
9. Leprechauns, according to Irish legend, are not little fairies or people who hide gold and can’t lie, rather are rich, mean shoe makers!
10. The blarney stone, a popular Irish token for St. Patrick’s Day does not bring luck, but rather, those who kiss it have their shyness removed for the day of the St. Patrick’s celebration, and their tongue is loosed and given the gift of speaking freely.