Before you put on your favorite green clothes and sit down for corned beef and cabbage, brush up on these lesser-known facts about St. Patrick’s Day.
Here are 4 surprising facts about St. Patrick’s Day:
1. It Wasn’t Always Green
Fun fact: the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day was actually originally blue! The color green was considered unlucky. The shift to green happened as early as the 17th century and is believed to have changed due to Ireland’s “Emerald Isle” nickname or the colors of the Irish flag.
2. Why Shamrocks?
Legend has it that St. Patrick used the three-leafed clover to represent the Holy Trinity. The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamróg, meaning “little clover.” Today, the four-leafed clover associated with the holiday is said to represent faith, hope, love and luck.
3. St. Patrick Wasn’t Irish – or Named Patrick
Despite his association with Ireland, St. Patrick is believed to have been born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late 4th century. He was originally named Maewyn Succat and changed his name to Patricius when he became a priest.
4. It’s a National Holiday in Ireland
Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland close down banks and schools to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Interestingly, until the 1970s, pubs used to close as well! Today, both locals and tourists celebrate the holiday in pubs and at parades in Ireland.
5. The History of the Lingo
You’ll likely hear people saying “Erin go Bragh” at St. Patrick’s Day events, and you might be wondering what it means (who is Erin?!). The saying actually comes from the Irish Éirinn go Brách, which translates to “Ireland Forever.”
Want to experience the heart of Irish culture – any day of the year? Learn more about studying abroad in Ireland with AIFS!