An old saying states that “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.” Clearly nobody’s ancestry changes for one day a year, but it seems to ring true that most people enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. There’s just something amusing about leprechauns, shamrocks, and the understood right to pinch anyone not wearing green. Amidst all this green fun, though, are some interesting facts about St. Patrick, Ireland, and St. Patrick’s Day traditions.
Here are seven lesser known St. Patrick’s Day facts that might surprise you!
1) St. Patrick’s given name was Maewyn Succat. “Happy Maewyn Succat Day” just doesn’t quite sound the same.
2) St. Patrick was not Irish. His parents were Roman, and he was born in either Wales or Scotland.
3) Corned beef and cabbage is not traditional Irish fare. Citizens of Ireland typically eat lamb or bacon.
4) The color originally associated with St. Patrick was blue, not green. The green is thought to have been later attributed because of Ireland’s green countryside or the color of the Irish independence movement of the 18th century.
5) St. Patrick has been credited with using the shamrock to speak of the Holy Trinity. The shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland, and according to a University of Sydney mathematics lecturer, your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are one in 10,000.
6) The Irish population in the United States (34.5 million) is greater than the population of Ireland (4.68 million).
7) It is an annual tradition that the prime minister of Ireland gives a crystal bowl of shamrocks to the U.S. president on March 17.
How does your family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Do you have any traditions you’d like to share with us below?