Every March in honor of St. Patrick, we wear green and celebrate all things Irish, but do we know the real story behind St. Patrick’s Day? Here are ten facts about the real Patrick and his honorary day for all of our curious readers.
1. The man wasn’t even Irish. (Gasp.) He was British.
2. At sixteen years of age, he was kidnapped and sent to Ireland; there, he was enslaved and forced to tend sheep. Baa.
3. As a slave in Ireland, Patrick became a Christian.
4. After six or seven years of enslavement, Patrick escaped aboard a pirate ship, but he eventually returned to Ireland after being ordained a priest.
5. In Ireland, he spent his life trying to spread Christianity, all the while being beaten up by thugs and harassed by the Irish upper class.
6. Patrick died on March 17 in the year 461. After his death, he was pretty much forgotten; however, as centuries passed, mythology around Patrick grew, and he became the patron saint of Ireland.
7. Until the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was a minor religious holiday. The festivities were simple: the day’s celebration consisted of a big meal, and that was about it.
8. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in America have their roots in the Revolutionary War. During the war, many Irish soldiers held parades by marching together to celebrate their ethnic solidarity.
9. Some time in the nineteenth century, wearing green became a symbol of loyalty to Ireland.
10. For modern day St. Patrick’s Day, many Americans continue the tradition of parades, eat corned beef and cabbage–foods popularized by Irish Americans in the nineteenth century mainly because they were affordable–and drink a lot of Irish stout; on St. Patrick’s Day, Americans drink about 3,000,000 pints of Guinness.
Have a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day!