St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of the world’s most recognizable saints. Even though he lived thousands of years ago, he is still quite the celebrity – especially around this time of year.
Despite his fame, parts of St. Patrick’s life remain much of a mystery. Although no one may ever know his full story from beginning to end, we have done some research to help answer your most burning questions about St. Patrick and his holiday.
Is he really Irish?
Although many assume that St. Patrick is of Irish descent, he was actually not born in Ireland. No one knows specifically where he was born, but historians believe he was born in Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton in Scotland (technically a territory of Britain at the time). Patrick’s parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Italians living on a British estate. So technically – he’s Italian!
Why is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated on March 17th?
It is believed that St. Patrick died on March 17 in the year 461 AD, but is also a day of worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland and a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Did you know the original color of St. Patrick’s Day was blue?
Though green is a very popular color on St. Patrick’s Day, the original color attributed to followers of St. Patrick was blue. Long before green t-shirts and beads, the Irish military wore “St. Patrick’s Blue” in their uniforms. Some say that wearing green is considered to be “unlucky” because it represents a time in Irish history when Ireland was not free while others attribute it to religious orientation. However you view the color Green, you’re more likely to see more people sporting it on St. Patrick’s Day than any other day of the year!
Why do Americans love to celebrate St. Patrick?
There are roughly 35 million Irish Americans in the U.S. today, so it’s no surprise that Americans love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! The first official St. Patrick’s Day parade was celebrated in the U.S. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through the streets of New York City to maintain a connection with their roots. Ever since then, the tradition has held strong and Irish patriotism has continued to flourish. Today there are 100+ St. Patrick’s Day parades in the U.S.
Even if you’re not Irish, the saying goes that everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!