17 things you might not know about St Patrick's Day

Today is St Patrick's Day - and what more fitting than 17 facts about it?

Thursday, 17th March 2016, 7:15 am
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2016, 7:24 am

1. St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 because this is the traditional death day of the patron saint.

2. As well as being a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, it is also a holiday in Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory, and the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

3. The week of St Patrick’s Day is also “Irish Language Week”.

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4. It is customary to wear green clothing and display shamrocks on St Patrick’s Day. It is rumoured that Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.

5. Birmingham holds the largest St Patrick’s Day parade in Britain. It runs for more than two miles. It is said to be the biggest parade in the world after those in Dublin and New York.

6. St Patrick’s Day has also been celebrated on the International Space Station. In 2013, Chris Hadfield took photographs of Ireland from earth orbit.

7. The world’s first recorded Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is said to have taken place in Boston on March 18, 1737

8. Though Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he was born in Britain around 365AD,

9. To celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Chicago, the river is dyed green.

10. For many years, blue was the colour that was assosiated with St. Patrick. as green was considered unlucky.

11. In 2010, the Sydney Opera House went green to mark the 200th anniversary of St. Patrick’s Day there.

12. Around 5.5 million pints of Guinness are sold on any given day, but this figure rises to 13 million on St. Patrick’s Day.

13. At the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. At the age of 22, he managed to escape.

14.Patrick’s ‘real’ name was actually Maewyn Succat. He took on the name Patrick when he became a priest.

15. The colour green is worn because St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made them invisible to leprechauns (fairy creatures that would pinch anyone they could see).

16.One common legend about St Patrick is that he drove all snakes out of Ireland.

17.Holding a feast is a massive tradition for those who celebrate the holiday in a religious context.