In honor of St. Paddy’s Day today, I’ve collected a few interesting tidbits about the holiday:
Falon Yates/Via Flickr
The shamrock is commonly associated with St. Patrick, who supposedly used the three-leafed clover to explain the Trinity to his converts. Four U.S. towns are named after this Irish emblem: Shamrock, Texas; Shamrock Lakes, Indiana; Shamrock, Oklahoma; and Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia.
Thirty-four million Americans (10 times the population of Ireland) claim to be of Irish descent. Massachusetts residents are twice as likely to claim Irish ancestry. Incidentally, the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States took place in Boston in 1737.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade is not an Irish tradition. The first parade was held in New York in 1762, and today, it is the longest running civilian parade in the world. Approximately 150,000 people participate each year.
People often wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, but in Ireland, green is actually considered to be unlucky. Green is the color that was associated with the Good People (faeries) who supposedly steal children.
Speaking of luck, where does the term “the luck of the Irish” come from? During the Gold Rush, many Irish miners made a fortune off of gold or silver mining, hence the term “luck of the Irish.”
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