Good ole St. Patrick’s Day. The day you wear something green, hit the pub and get absolutely shit faced. Unless you’re Irish and particularly religious no one really knows what the holiday is on about other than there’s green dye in your hair and your buddy Macka just bought another round. So to help clear things up here are 15 facts about St. Patrick’s day that you didn’t know.
So first of all, what’s it all about? Well, St Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration held on the 17th of March. It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church. The day celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and Irish culture in general.
And now to the facts:
15. March 17th is the traditional death date of Saint Patrick.
14. St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish. He was a Romano-British missionary that went on to become a bishop in Ireland.
13. The three-leaf clover was originally used to explain the holy trinity to pagan Irish folk.
12. The colour originally associated with St. Patrick was actually blue and not the famous green that’s so prominently brandished in celebrations today.
11. At the tender age of sixteen St. Patrick was captured by Irish pirates and forced into slavery for six years.
10. The heavy alcohol consumption associated with St Patrick’s day began when the church lifted staunch dietary restrictions for one day, allowing the people of Ireland to feast, drink and be merry!
9. Until the 1970’s by law Irish pubs were closed on 17th of March as an apparent mark of respect to St. Patrick but most likely it was a strategy to curb massive public drunken disorder.
8. Here’s a list of famous people born on St Patrick’s day: Singer song-writer Grimes, Nat ‘King’ Cole, notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Gorge Harrison and Eric Clapton’s ex-wife Pattie Boyd, Kurt Russel and Gary Sinise just to name a few.
7. Up until 2007 there was the world’s smallest St. Patrick’s Day parade held in Dripsey Cork, Ireland. It was just 23 metres traipsing from one of the town’s pubs to the other. Sadly one of the pubs closed down, so now the locals just parade from the bar to the toilet and back again. This is repeated all day long.
6. In 2009 it was estimated that 26.1 million pounds of beef were produced for the festivities of March 17th.
5. Irish musical group ‘The Chieftains’ had instruments of theirs played in space by Irish-American Catherine Coleman which was then featured on a track called ‘The Chieftains in Space’ on their album Voice of Ages.
4. The largest St Patrick’s Day celebration in the southern hemisphere is held in Sydney, Australia.
3. Apartheid famously ended in South Africa on 17th March in 1992 after a referendum was passed 68.7% to 31.2%.
2. It is estimated that on any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed while on St Patrick’s Day that number more than doubles!
1. St Patrick is hailed for driving all snakes away from Ireland however evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes thus reducing the legend to nothing more than false whispers over green beers.