No matter if you are 100% Irish, 10% Irish, or just enjoy the land of Saints and Scholars, St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday enriched with history and culture. Great Plains Communications wants to highlight five fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day and the origin of the holiday.

  1. St. Patrick, in which the holiday was named after, was not even Irish. He was in fact born in Britain around A.D. 390. At a young age, Patrick showed no desire for Christianity or religion. It wasn’t until he was kidnapped and forced to tend sheep as a slave in the countryside of Ireland, that his strong Christian beliefs took root.
  2. The myth of St. Patrick driving away all the snakes of Ireland is just that, a myth. According to National Geographic, the myth is said to have developed through a metaphor representing Patrick ridding the country of its “old, evil, pagan ways”. There were in fact no snakes to begin with, due to the frigid cold of the island.
  3. The parties and green overload started in America, not Ireland. What started as a small religious holiday in the 18th and 19th century in Ireland, took on a whole transformation with the migration of Irish immigrants to America. They showed their pride and celebrated their home country on March 17. The popularity of the holiday didn’t find its way to non-Irish Americans until well into the 20th Century.
  4. The three-leaf shamrock is more than a decal. It is said that the three-leaf clover, or shamrock, originated when St. Patrick used it in explaining the Christian Holy Trinity. However, there is no evidence to support this legend and others believe it was due to their annual spring budding.
  5. Corned beef and cabbage is more of an American dish than Irish. When many think of St. Patrick’s Day, the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage comes to mind. However, beef was not often used in Gaelic Ireland, but more often pig was in its place. The true Irish dish still today is made up of either lamb or bacon with cabbage.

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