17 Facts about St. Patrick's Day


1. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was actually born in Wales during the latter half of the 4th century. His birth name was Maewyn Succat.

2. Pirates kidnapped him when he was 16, and he was sold into slavery in Ireland. He escaped back to Britain 6 years later.


3. Patrick renamed himself after converting to Christianity, and returned to Ireland to convert the Irish pagans to Christianity as well.

4. St. Patrick is said to have driven all the snakes from Ireland. However, there were never any snakes in Ireland to begin with. This is likely a metaphor alluding to Patrick’s conversion of the pagans to Christianity.

5. We wear green on St. Patrick’s Day as a way to remember and honor Ireland, but also because it’s said that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns. Leprechauns pinch people they can see, which is why we pinch people who forget to wear green.

6. St. Patrick’s Day was initially started in Ireland as a Catholic feast day for their patron saint. However, in the 1737, Irish immigrants in Boston, MA turned it into the boisterous, secular holiday it is today by holding the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade.


7. St. Patrick’s Day parades are very popular. New York City holds the largest and longest running in the world. One of the shortest is held in Dripsey, a small village in Ireland. It’s only 100 yards—the distance between the town’s two pubs.

8. The shamrock is said to have been used by St. Patrick to explain Christianity’s Holy Trinity to the pagans of Ireland. Later, Irish Christians would wear the clovers on their lapels on St. Patrick’s Day as a sign of their faith.

9. Guinness is the most popular brand of beer drunk on St. Patrick’s Day. 13 million pints of the famous Irish stout are consumed on this day, more than twice the amount drank on any other day (5.5 million).

10. 40 pounds of environmentally friendly dye is used to turn the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day.  


11. There are 34 million Americans with Irish ancestry. That’s more than 7x the entire population of Ireland.

12. Traditionally, St. Patrick was associated with the color blue. It was later changed to green to represent the country of Ireland.

13. Corned beef and cabbage is a favorite St. Patrick’s Day dish. It comes from the traditional Irish meal of salt pork and cabbage. Salt pork’s closest equivalent in America is bacon, but the Irish immigrants couldn’t afford this expensive meat. Corned beef (or beef cured with salt) was their lower-cost option, which ironically, was considered a luxury item in Ireland.

14. Your chances of finding a four leaf clover are 1 in 10,000.

15. Kissing the Blarney Stone is said to grant the kisser “the gift of eloquence” or “gift of gab”. To kiss the stone properly, the smoocher must lean backwards and kiss it upside down.


16. Since it was originally considered a religious holiday in Ireland, Irish law mandated that pubs be closed on St. Patrick’s Day. That law was changed in the 1970s.

17. St. Patrick’s Day should never be shortened to St. Patty’s Day. The correct abbreviation is St. Paddy’s Day. This is because Paddy is short for Padraig, the traditional Irish variant of Patrick, while Patty is short for Patricia.