Today, March 17, much of the world will be going green to celebrate St. Patrick’s day! March 17 marks the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick, who is credited with spreading Christianity to Ireland. Though St. Patrick was not Irish, the holiday named in his honor is now synonymous with Irish culture, or at least Irish food and drink! Here in the United States, we’ll eat corned beef and cabbage, drink Irish beer, and wear green shamrocks with hopes of securing a bit of that luck o’ the Irish! In honor of St. Paddy, I’ve created a map showing where the most Americans live that identify as Irish American, and I’ve compiled some fun facts about the holiday and traditions surrounding it!
Fun Facts about St. Patrick's Day:
- The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York in the 1760s.
- Guinness will sell an average of 13 million glasses of beer, about twice as much as the average day.
- Corned beef is not the traditional protein eaten on St. Patrick’s day in Ireland. A meat more similar to bacon is traditional, but Irish immigrants in America who could not afford pricier meats prepared corned beef instead.
- The shamrock was believed to be used by St. Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish.
- Many religious groups hold special ceremonies to commemorate St. Patrick.
- The phrase “the luck of the Irish” came about when Irish and American Irish miners found success during the gold rush in the 1800s.
- Many cities dye fountains, rivers, and other bodies of water green. The most famous in the United States is the Chicago River. Beginning in 1962, part of the river had been dyed green every year. This year, about 40 pounds of a secret formula powder was dumped into the river. With the help of boats churning the water, the river is dyed green in about 45 minutes!
Luck o' the Irish to ye!
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