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10 Surprising Things You Probably Never Knew About Saint Patrick’s Day

by Grace Eire
Grace plays in a band and is the mother to a black cat named Fitzhugh.

Ah, St. Patricks day. That oh-so-special time of the year when beer is green and shamrocks abound.

The day is commemorative of the day St. Patrick is thought to have died, March 17. St. Patrick is credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century. He’s also known for driving all of the snakes out of Ireland.

While there may have never been any snakes in Ireland to begin with, St. Patrick did indeed do a lot of good in his life. The celebration of his life is both secular and cultural, and it is always a grand old time.

Whether you celebrate with Irish in your own blood, or you’re just Irish for the day in the name of corned beef and cabbage, I bet there are some things that you don’t know about the holiday.

These 10 bits of St. Patrick’s Day trivia will make your day even better.

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1. His Name Wasn't Actually Patrick

1. His Name Wasn't Actually Patrick

St. Patrick’s real Irish name was Maewyn Succat. He took the name Patrick when he became a priest.

2. The First Parade Was In 1762

parade

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade wasn’t held in Ireland, but in New York. Irish soldiers serving in the British army threw a parade to celebrate the holiday in 1762. These days, cities all over have parades full of traditional music and dance.

3. Irish Bars Used To Close On The Holiday

3. Irish Bars Used To Close On The Holiday

From 1903 to 1961, bars in Ireland were all closed on St. Patrick’s Day for religious reasons. Can you imagine St. Patrick’s Day without a pint of beer?

4. St. Patrick Baptized A Lot Of People

st patrick baptize

He is thought to have baptized 100,000 people. That’s a whole lot of ceremonies!

5. St. Patrick Wasn't Irish

5. St. Patrick Wasn't Irish

He’s famed for bringing Christianity to Ireland, but he himself was British, with Roman parents. He was born in Wales or Scotland, not Ireland.

6. It's A Lucrative Holiday

6. It's A Lucrative Holiday

In 2016, Americans spent a total of $4.4 billion on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s an average of $35.40 per person celebrating the big day. I don’t know about you, but I think I spend a bit more than that myself!

7. There Are No Female Leprechauns

7. There Are No Female Leprechauns

Leprechaun scholars have come to the conclusion that there are no female leprechauns, nor has there ever been a female leprechaun. Where do they keep coming from, then? Some folklore says that they are the deformed and shunned children of fairies. Oh my!

8. 25 Pounds Of Dye Turn The Chicago River Green

8. 25 Pounds Of Dye Turn The Chicago River Green

Lots of cities throw quite the party on St. Patrick’s Day, but no one does it quite like Chicago. On the day of the parade, at 9:15 a.m., the Plumbers Local hop on boats and dye the Chicago River an electric green color. It’s quite the sight to see, but it only takes 25 pounds of the dye to turn the entire river green for a few hours.

9. St. Patrick Didn't Wear Green

9. St. Patrick Didn't Wear Green

At least not to the extent that you might picture. His color of choice was actually a light shade of blue called “St. Patrick’s blue.” The whole green tradition came along when the independence movement in the 18th century used a flag of the bright green color.

10. It's Been Celebrated In Space

10. It's Been Celebrated In Space

Not only is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated all across the globe, from Ireland itself to Asia, and South America to Canada, it’s also been celebrated in space. For example, astronaut Chris Hadfield posted a photo of himself all decked out in green on the holiday back in 2013.

Please SHARE with your friends on Facebook if you plan on celebrating this year!