The Bottom Line: Learn something new about St. Patrick!
The Full Story:
- Why March 17th? No one’s really sure. It’s believed that St. Patrick did die in March 461 A.D. – and perhaps even on the 17th. Beyond that – anything you hear is probably a bit of blarney.
- One common myth about St. Patrick is that he “drove all of the snakes out of Ireland.” As much as that sounds like a Ridley Scott movie, this is unfortunately just a myth. According to National Geographic, it’s true that there are no snakes in Ireland, but there actually never were. Apparently, the frigid waters surrounding the Emerald Isle made it too cold for snakes to arrive there from Britain. It’s believed that when literature mentions St. Patrick getting rid of all of the snakes in Ireland, it’s probably more of a metaphor for ridding the country of its "old, evil, pagan ways.” Because the ancient Celts were Druids, dontcha know…
- How’d the holiday turn into partaaaay central? It’s America’s fault. No, really – we’re responsible for turning St. Patrick's Day into the big party. There's some debate over when the first St. Patrick's Day parade took place, but early celebrations happened in Boston in 1737and New York in 1762. St. Patrick's Day celebrations continued to grow as more and more Irish immigrants came to the U.S., especially after the Irish Potato Famine hit in 1845. For the record (and according to History.com), New York's St. Patrick's Day parade is the world's oldest civilian parade and the largest parade in the U.S. But let’s not leave out Chicago, which has become famous for dyeing the Chicago River green every year, for its St. Patrick's Day celebration.