St. Patty Facts
St. Patrick’s Day is coming up in a few days and it has become universally associated with two things: the color green and lots of drinking. Obviously we think of pints of Guiness when March 17 rolls around, but was it always the case?
Here’s some interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day:
- As previously mentioned, we all wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid getting pinched, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the holiday was associated with the color blue. It’s thought that the connection to green came because of the shamrock and Ireland’s nickname as “The Emerald Isle”. Shamrocks and green ribbons were even worn as early as the 17th century.
- Shamrocks are a common sight on the festive day, but make sure your clover has three leaves instead of four! Saint Patrick used the shamrock to represent the holy trinity as he taught Christianity to the Irish. The three leaves are also believed to represent faith, hope and love. The fourth leaf represents luck.
- Speaking of lucky clovers, the odds of finding a four leaf clover are 1 in 10,000. That makes the story of an Australian woman finding 21 clovers in her front yard in 2014 astronomical! She should have enough luck for the rest of her life!
- Beginning in 1962, the city of Chicago dyes the Kelly River green in honor of the holiday. It takes about 50 pounds of dye to accomplish the task, and the color lasts for about 5 hours!
- As hard as it might be to believe, St. Patrick’s day was originally a dry holiday. It’s a national and religious holiday in Ireland, and up until the 1970’s pubs were closed. We’ve clearly shifted from that, as beer (specifically Guiness) is one of the most widely consumed beverages on St. Patrick’s Day.
- It’s estimated that 13 million pints of Guiness are consumed on St. Patrick’s Day, and in the United States alone it’s estimated that they spend over $6 billion on celebrating the day. That equates to about $40 a person!
- So how did alcohol become connected to such a religious holiday? St. Patrick’s Day falls during the Christian season of Lent (which is a time of sacrifice and giving up pleasures). Because it is a feast day, those restrictions are lifted for the day, so naturally people would binge eat and drink. Over time the holiday became associated with an abundance of drinking.
- While it is widely accepted to partake in a celebratory beverage or two on March 17th, make sure you don’t drink and drive, as there are an alarming amount of alcohol related accidents on the day.