By: Jana Kaplan Assistant Features Editor
Top of the mornin’ to ya! Have you ever wondered what it is about St. Patrick’s Day that makes everyone drink like they’re Irish? Here are 10 facts about the holiday:
- St. Patrick, the man we cheer to, is the patron saint of Ireland, even though he was born in Britain in about 385 BCE. He was captured and taken to Ireland at 14 years old, left six years later, and returned in his 30s as a missionary for the Celtic pagans.
- When he brought the Latin alphabet to Ireland, St. Patrick used the shamrock as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. Even though he originally wore blue, we wear green clothes, eat green food, and even drink green drinks to commemorate St. Patrick’s use of the shamrock.
- Popular Irish toasts on St. Patrick’s Day includes “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.” Cheers!
- Boston was the first city in America in which St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated, in 1737. Now more than 34 million Americans claim Irish heritage (at least for that day).
- It is believed that St. Patrick died on March 17 in 461 BCE. It is now a national holiday in Ireland and certain areas in the Caribbean that were founded by Irish refugees.
- Looking for a vacation? Dublin holds an annual parade to honor St. Patrick, and a river in Chicago is dyed green for a few hours. You can also take a short train ride to New York City for the biggest parade, and the drunkest leprechauns, you’ll ever see.
- Nine of the people who signed our Declaration of Independence had an Irish heritage, and 19 of the presidents of the United States were of Irish origin.
- For every 10,000 three-leaf clovers there is one lucky four-leaf clover. Legend says each leaf of the clover means something: the first is hope, the second is faith, the third is love, and the fourth is luck.
- Irish soda bread, a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish, is distinct in that it is made with baking soda instead of yeast. Corned beef and cabbage is also a common meal. Over 26 billion pounds of beef and 2.3 billion pounds of cabbage are annually produced in the United States.
- There are nine cities in America which are named after Ireland’s capital, Dublin.