To start of the Saint Paddy's Day party, here are a few interesting facts about St. Patrick's Day that you might not know. Many of them were new to me, that's for sure, like this first one:
1. Saint Patrick's color was a light shade of blue. The color of green only became associated with the big day, after it was linked to the Irish independence movement of the late 18th century.
2. St. Patrick was actually British. He made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in 432. Actually, St. Patrick was born to Roman parents in either Scotland or Wales in the late 4th century.
3. The Irish take Saint Patrick's Day very seriously. It's a national holiday there, as well as in Northern Ireland.
4. New Yorkers also take Saint Patrick's Day very seriously, holding one of the world's largest parades It's been around since 1762 and has 250,000 marchers parading up Fifth Avenue on foot. The parade doesn't allow floats, cars, or other modern trappings.
5. Chicago feels lucky too! While New York has more manpower, Chicago has its own special way of celebrating. Since 1962, The City of Chicago has been dying the Chigago River green. The City uses 40 tons of green dye to get the water that lovely festive shade we all associate with Saint Patrick's Day.
6. Can you believe this? Saint Patrick's Day used to be a dry holiday! For most of the 20th century, St. Patrick's Day was strictly a religious holiday in Ireland which meant that pubs were closed on March 17th. In 1970, the day was converted to a national holiday and the stout began flowing freely!
7. Shortest parades. Not every town and village holds a mammoth parade. From 1999 to 2007, the Irish village of Dripsey boasted the shortest parade, running a total of the 26 feet located between 2 next door pubs. Today, Hot Springs, Arkansas holds the title. Their parade runs only 98 feet.
8. How did the shamrock become associated with Saint Patrick's Day? It's because the saint used the the three-leaf plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity.
9. Cold weather and the snakes. Lore has it that Saint Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland. Modern science suggests that the job wouldn't have been hard because, according to fossil records, there were never any snakes in Ireland. Scholars believe that the snakes were likely metaphorical.
10. The corn in corned beef. There's no corn in the beef but the term corn comes from the large grains of salt that are used to cure the beef.
11. There are no female leprechauns. In traditional Irish folklore, there are no lady leprechauns...only cutely-dressed males.
12, Happy Saint Maewyn's Day? Doesn't have quite the same ring to it but Patrick was originally called Maewyn Succat and changed his name to Patrick when he became a priest.
13. The leprechaun economy is thriving. According to Irish lore, leprechuns earned their pot of gold by making and mending shoes. That's lots of hard work so you can't blame them, then, for being protective of their money!
14. The official lingo. You can't attend a Saint patrick's Day celebration without hearing the phrase Erin go Braugh. It's actually a corruption of the Irish phrase Éirinn go Brách which means Ireland Forever.
Yep. It's a grand day for wearin' o' the green! I hope you all have a happy and safe Saint Patrick's Day! I'm off to enjoy a pint, or two, of specially-dyed green Swamp Juice with friends and family. See y'all back here on Monday!