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Seven Odd Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

There is so much to love about St. Patrick’s Day, from celebrating with friends to embracing the supernatural and hoping for luck—we love this special holiday. But there has to be more to St. Patrick’s Day, right? Here’s a list of interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day to increase your knowledge of the holiday and the odd traditions associated with it:

1. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish!

He was born in Roman Britain during the year 387 AD. He was then taken to Ireland when he was a teenager by Irish slavers.

2. Since 1961, 100 lbs. of green dye was poured into the Chicago River.

Every St. Patrick’s Day, Chicago pours vegetable dye into the river to turn it green! Today they use 25 lbs. of dye, but in 1961, when the tradition started, they were unsure of the amount of dye they should use, and decided on the massive amount of 100 lbs. The Chicago River stayed green for a whole week!

3. St. Patrick’s color was actually blue.

The original color associated with the Saint is blue, but because he used the three leaves of the shamrock to preach about the Holy Trinity, green became the color most associated with him.

4. It’s St. Paddy’s day NOT St. Patty’s Day.

Last year, the Dublin Airport sent out this Facebook message saying:

“Don’t call it St. Patty’s Day. Also, March 17 should never be referred to as Patty’s Day either. You may, however, call it St. Paddy’s Day, or Paddy’s Day. Also acceptable are the traditional St. Patrick’s Day and Patrick’s Day. Please share this simple message with your friends and relations in the United States and Canada. Using the power of your network, hopefully we can banish the scourge of St Patty once and for all.”

The correct term is Paddy and not Patty because Paddy is an abbreviation for Padraig, which is a variation of the name Patrick, and Patty is an abbreviation for Patricia.

5. St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in space, not once but twice.

In 2011, the International Space Station celebrated the holiday with Irish-American astronaut Catherine Coleman. She played the flute and tin whistle belonging to the members of the Irish group—the Chieftains— while weightlessly floating in space. Her performance was put on the group’s album Voice of Ages.

 In 2013, Chris Hadfield celebrated St. Paddy’s Day in space by photographing Ireland while singing Danny Boy.

6. More Guinness is consumed than you think.

On a normal day, 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide. On St. Patrick’s Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints!

7. The Irish were not the first to have a St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The very first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in Boston on March 18th, 1737. Over a century later, Ireland had their first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin in 1931.

Now that you know these fun facts, go share your St. Paddy’s Day wisdom, Collegiettes!

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Hey everyone! My name's Kelly Tierney and I'm a Senior here at Umass Amherst majoring in English and minoring in Education.
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