Five Things You Didn’t Know About St. Patrick’s Day
You probably know St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, but you may not know these five things about the holiday.
St. Patrick was not Irish, and was not named Patrick
It’s true. The patron saint of the holiday was born in Britain in the 4th century. When he was 16, Irish soldiers attacked his family and took him to their country, where he stayed for six years. He eventually escaped back to England and later returned to Ireland on his own accord, to do missionary work.
His birth name was Maewyn Succat. He later changed it to Patricius when he became a priest.
The original St. Patrick’s Day color was blue, not green
A light shade of blue is still seen on ancient Irish flags and armbands worn by the Irish Citizen Army. Green didn’t come into play until 1798, when the clover leaf became a symbol of Irish nationalism.
Irish bars weren’t even open on St. Patrick’s Day
Ireland is largely Catholic and the holiday falls during Lent. It was against the law for bars in the country to even be open on March 17 until 1961.
There were no St. Patrick’s Day parades in Ireland until recently
St. Patrick’s Day became an official holiday in Ireland in 1903. The first celebration of the holiday didn’t take place until 1931 and the first parade in Ireland didn’t happen until 1998. Protestant toward Irish national symbols was to blame. Even today, parades feature a more neutral shamrock flag than the actual Irish flag.
St. Patrick’s Day parades are more of an American thing
Starting in 1848, New York City became the first place to have an official St. Patrick’s Day parade as an annual event. Even back then, three million people lined the streets for a five hour parade that boasted 150,000 participants.
Now cities and towns all over the country celebrate with a parade, including Quincy. The 28th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade here is on Saturday, March 15, beginning at 11am. It will travel down Maine Street from 12th to 5th and everyone is invited to be in the parade or attend.
You can sign up to be in the parade free of charge by filling out the following form: