Here are a few fun facts about St. Patrick and his holiday

March 17th is when St. Patrick died. He passed away in 461 AD at, around, the age of 76.

St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. His parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England.

St. Patrick was a slave. At the age of 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. His slavery lasted until the age of 22, when he managed to escape.

Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. This, however, probably did not happen, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland. The climate is too cool for them to survive. Scholars suggest that the term “snakes” may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices.

Patrick’s color is blue. The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green as commonly believed. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments. King Henry VIII used the Irish harp in gold on a blue flag to represent the country.

The shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland. The harp is the official symbol of Ireland.

There are more Irish in The United States than in Ireland. An estimated 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry. some are pure-blood Irish, meaning they or their parents came from Ireland, but many more have mixed ancestry today. By contrast, there are 4.6 million people living in Ireland.

On March 17, 1737 Boston became the first U.S. city to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

The Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa are home to the only St. Patrick’s Day parade that starts in one state and ends in another. The Interstate St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts in downtown Rock Island, Illinois, goes across the Centennial Bridge over the Mississippi River, and ends in downtown Davenport, Iowa.

Forty gallons of vegetable dye are used to color the Chicago River for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The tradition was started in 1962 when the Chicago Plumbers Union volunteered for the job. The union still holds the honor of dying the river green.

 

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