10 Lucky St. Patrick's Day Facts

Saint Patrick's feast day would include pinching. Though we connect kelly green with the Irish and the occasion, the 5th-century saint's official color was "Saint Patrick's blue," a light sky blue. After the late 18th century Irish independence movement, green became synonymous with the great day.


1. We should really be wearing blue on St. Patrick’s Day.

Patrick was not Irish, yet he brought Christianity to Ireland in 432. He was born late 4th century in Scotland or Wales to Roman parents.


2. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.

As expected, his hometown celebrates St. Patrick's Day. Pubs were closed on this national holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland until the 1970s. Only alcohol merchants at the huge national dog show, always on St. Patrick's Day, were exempt. The saint's feast day was more solemn and pious before that. Green-clad tourists now flock to the country for parades, beverages, and possibly limericks.


3. St. Patrick’s Day used to be a dry holiday.

NYC's St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the world's largest. About 250,000 participants have walked along 5th Avenue since 1762—the parade still bans floats, autos, and other contemporary devices. Grand marshals are Miracle on 34th Street actress Maureen O'Hara and New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan. The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the parade for the first time in its centuries-long existence in 2020.


4. New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has been happening since 1762.

Although New York has more manpower, Chicago has a unique spectacle. Since 1962, the city has dyed the Chicago River green on St. Patrick's Day. We know the local plumbers' union disperses the powder through flour sifters, but the organizers won't share their recipe.


5. Chicago literally runs green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Not every city celebrates fully. Dripsey, Ireland, boasted of having the world's smallest Saint Patrick's Day parade from 1999 to 2007. The route between pubs was 25 yards. Currently, Hot Springs, Arkansas, is the shortest at 98 feet.


6. For some St. Patrick’s Day parades, it’s the thought that counts.

What made the shamrock linked with St. Patrick? Irish mythology says the saint used the three-leafed plant (not the four-leaf clover) to symbolize the holy trinity when he first brought Christianity to Ireland.


7. There’s a reason for the shamrocks.

St. Patrick is credited with exterminating all snakes in Ireland. According to the fossil record, Ireland has never had snakes, therefore modern scientists think the job was easy. The island was too frigid for reptiles during the Ice Age, and the surrounding oceans have kept serpentines out since. Modern academics believe St. Patrick drove away symbolic "snakes".


8. Cold weather helped St. Patrick’s claim to fame.

Irish Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day with corned beef and cabbage, which has nothing to do with grain corn. Instead, it references the huge salt grains called “corns” that were used to cure meats.


9. There’s no corn in that beef.

On St. Patrick's Day 2017, 13 million pints of Guinness were expected worldwide. Beer sales in America were expected to rise 174% in 2022. In fact, St. Patrick's Day is the busiest bar day in America. Overall, Americans were predicted to spend $7.2 billion on the holiday in 2024.


10. Americans run up quite a bar tab on St. Patrick’s Day.

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