I was born and raised in the Chicago area. In the city of Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal. The Chicago River is dyed green each year, which is quite something to see.
Since tradition has it that everybody is Irish on March 17th, I thought it might be fun to share some fun factoids about Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day – and St. Patrick himself – that you might not know.
- About the Chicago River: what do they use to turn it green?
It’s an eco-friendly, vegetable-based dye….which is actually an orange powder until it’s mixed with water. The color remains for only a few hours.
- St. Patrick was not Irish.
Though he spent most of his adult life converting the Irish to Christianity, St. Patrick was not born in Ireland – nor was he Irish himself.
- Erin go Bragh?
This is a sloppy approximation of an Irish phrase which means (more or less) Ireland Forever.
- About that corned beef and cabbage….
In Ireland, the dish is ham and cabbage. And there’s no corn in the beef. Corned beef is cured with large-grained rock salt – or “corns” of salt – which is how it got its name.
- World’s Shortest Parade
The title of shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade belonged for many years to little town in County Cork, Ireland – where the 77-foot route was the distance between two pubs. The current record-holder is Hot Springs, Arkansas with a 98-foot route.
- Speaking of parades…..
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in Boston (in the early 1700s)!
- Most Irish City in the United States?
You probably won’t be surprised to know that it’s Boston. But what about the most Irish TOWN? We only need to travel a little bit south of Beantown to find it (according to the 2010 Census) in Scituate, Mass.
- Wearing of the Green
It’s tradition to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day in United States, but not so in Ireland. In fact, the Irish long considered green to be an unlucky color.
- Maewyn Succat
That was supposedly St. Patrick’s birth name. He took the name Patricius (Patrick) when he became a priest.
- St. Patrick was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland where he spent six years as a prisoner/slave before he escaped. This is the country to which he later returned and spent the rest of his life in the ministry.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!