The magic of St. Patrick’s Day is like no other.  You tend to see green bagels at the supermarket, green beer at restaurants and festivals full of dancing and bagpipes.  Not to mention the hordes of people wearing green! And leprechauns! So many leprechauns!  This day is a celebration for the Irish (and Irish at heart) to internationally celebrate what first began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland.  This week, we take a look at the facts about St. Patrick, shamrocks and what it has become nowadays.


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So here is a fun fact: St. Patrick was not Irish at all!  Yes, it is true.  In 400 A.D., young Patrick was born a nobleman in Britain and was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16.  While enslaved, Patrick found his faith and escaped from Ireland after 17 long years back to Britain.  Even though he went back to his homeland, he returned to Ireland as a missionary stating, “He was ready to die in Ireland in order to make his mission successful” according to Philip Freeman, author of St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography.  The facts are not straight, however the majority of people believe that he did in fact die on March 17 hence St. Patrick’s Day.


So what is up with the shamrocks?  Well, according to legend St. Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Christian Holy Trilogy.  Traditions as early as the 17th century have incorporated the plant in their celebrations.  People used to wear the shamrocks on their coats and at the end of the day, “drown the shamrock” aka place it in a glass of whiskey before drinking. 

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And those cute button nosed, rosy cheeked creatures known as leprechauns.  How do they come into play?  Well, they are from Irish folklore.  The first mention recorded was the 8th century (originally luchorpan meaning “little body”) to describe water spirits.  They also are mentioned as the Irish fairy Cluricaune, believed to be a cunning spirit that haunts cellars and loves to smoke, drink and play tricks on the innocent.


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So have fun today!  St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated nationwide-even New York has an annual parade every year on March 17 in honor of both the man and the legends.  Be safe when consuming that green beer and remember: do not eat too much corned beef and cabbage!