Do Your Kids Know? 8 Fun Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

facts about St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday that is globally celebrated on or around March 17th. While it is generally a holiday that celebrates the Irish culture, it more specifically remembers Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick. Chances are, both you and your children know St. Patrick’s day best as a holiday that results in pinches if you don’t wear green, and conjures images of leprechauns, rainbows, pots of gold, and four leaf clovers. But there’s a lot more to this holiday and some fun facts that may catch you by surprise.

The following are 8 fun facts about the Patron of Ireland and this much loved Irish holiday, for you to enjoy sharing with your little ones as they search for something green to wear.

St. Who? St. Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat (or in Latin, Magonus Succetus). He took the name St. Patrick after becoming a priest. He is credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland.

St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was born in Britain and his parents were Roman citizens. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland where he tended sheep for 10 years. He eventually escaped and took refuge in a monastery in Gaul for 12 years where he became a bishop.

Female leprechauns don’t exist. In Irish folk tales, the tiny mythical people people are only men.

Why the Shamrock? The shamrock is associated with St. Patrick’s Day because it is said that St. Patrick used the three-leaf plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was sharing his Christian teachings.

The Leprechauns have a day job. According to Irish lore, when they aren’t guarding gold Leprechauns are making and mending shoes.

March 17th is the day that St. Patrick passed away. The day a saint dies is the date the Catholic Church designates as their holy day.

St. Patrick’s Day should be blue. Blue was the color originally associated with St. Patrick. In early artwork he is depicted wearing blue robes. However, that changed in the 17th century because one of the colors in Ireland’s tri-colored flag is green and Ireland was dubbed the Emerald Isle because of it’s green landscape

The rivers run green. In Chicago, the rivers are dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day.

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