St. Patrick’s Day is here and there are all sorts of reasons to celebrate! Maybe you’re Irish or have ancestors on the Emerald Isle! Or maybe you happen to love the color green. Or you could just like beer. OK, it’s probably the beer. Friendly advice: avoid the green beer like the plague; you’re just rewarding bars that think they can purge their old kegs and charge five dollars a pint with the added magic of some food coloring. Every March 17th, pub owners become the world’s worst Leprechauns, with their pots of gold ending after a trail of half-empty beer mugs of this swill. Buy a proper pint of Guinness; you’ll thank us later.
That said, many of you will be heading to one of these establishments and you may want to have a fact or two on hand to impress the random strangers you encounter, from the annoying guy in the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirt that keeps screaming “sláinte” like a broken record, to the person with an inexplicable number of beaded necklaces despite Mardi Gras being long over.
Speaking of beer, it’s estimated that during St. Patrick’s Day in the United States, at least three million pints of Guinness is consumed during the celebration, with over thirteen million pints consumed worldwide!
It also happens to be true that St. Patrick’s Day was, from 1903 to 1970 a dry holiday in Ireland, which meant no beer! Kind of hard to imagine, we know.
St. Patrick Was Not Irish
Before you get us wrong, St. Patrick is an enduring symbol of Ireland. It turns out, however, that St. Patrick was a British-born Roman aristocrat born in 385 AD.
He was captured by pirates and enslaved for sixteen years before managing to escape, after which he joined the priesthood. It was after this that he returned to Ireland to convert the populace to Christianity. Also of note, March 17th does not commemorate St. Patrick’s birth, but rather his death, which is due to the Catholic tradition of making saint’s days the day that the saint died.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade got it’s start in 1762 when Irish soldiers in the British Army marched through New York City.
The parades did not become popular until the 19th century, but they became an important symbol of Irishness and are now celebrated in over 100 cities in the United States! Furthermore, with almost thirty-five million Irish-Americans living in the United States, there’s sure to be many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to come!
St. Patrick’s Day is here but my wallet is a little light!
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