Growing up in an Irish household, St. Patrick’s Day was one of my family’s favorite holidays.
Every year we’d be covered from head to toe in green and go march in our city’s parade. My mother would hide chocolate coins around the house, which were left behind by the “leprechauns,” in our ultimate search for the pot of gold.
But to be honest, despite my heritage, I didn’t know much about St. Patrick’s Day, aside from its present day cultural impact. So, I decided to do research on the beloved holiday, and dug up these 10 awesome facts.
1. Despite being the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick was British
Starting the list off with a shocker, the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t even Irish! The young man was sold into slavery when he was only 16 years old and brought over to Ireland. He eventually escaped his shackles and became a priest.
2. Patrick wasn’t his real name either
Born Maewyn Succat, the patron saint decided to change his name to Patricius when joined the priesthood. While it’s a lovely name, I don’t think Patrick has the same ring to it.
3. And he never chased any snakes away
Shocking right? Even though the legend says St. Patrick chased away all of the snakes terrorizing Ireland, there is no evidence the country ever had any of those slithery creatures mucking around.
4 .There are more Irish people in the United States than there are in Ireland
At first I had to do a double take when I saw these numbers, but it’s true! There are about 34.5 million Irish-Americans in the U.S. compared to the 4.68 million citizens in Ireland.
While the U.S.’s number is about seven times larger, it should be noted that the country’s also the home to a whopping 323.1 million people.
5. Instead of green, we should all be wearing blue
While it would be startling to see any other color representing the Irish holiday, St. Patrick’s color is actually blue! In fact, most of the country’s original representations were draped in the symbolic color, including one of their flags.
Eventually, green became associated with the annual holiday following the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.