St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day: 10 Facts You Might Not Know About The Irish Day Of Celebration

St. Patricks Day is today! As such, celebrations are taking place around the world and likely include beer and the color green — and sometimes those two things combined.

But despite the known traditions like wearing green, drinking beer, searching for four-leaf clovers, and trying to catch leprechauns, there are also several less-known facts about the Irish day of celebration.

1. Despite the Irish roots of the holiday, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in Boston.

That’s right. On March 17, 1737, the city of Boston, Massachusetts chose to celebrate its heritage in a unique way. The original parade didn’t have motorized floats or huge balloons or probably even immodestly dressed women. But it did go down in the history books.

2. St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because it is the feast day of St. Patrick.

This one may be a little more easy to recognize. St. Patty’s Day is meant to celebrate (who else) the patron saint of Ireland. He is believed to have died on March 17, 461. As such, it is only right to celebrate the saint’s death-day with a celebration. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland. It is also a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

3. A leprechaun is hoarding one gold coin for each day it has lived.

So, let’s face it. There has been no documented, tangible proof that leprechauns exist. But when has that stopped people from believing in something? So, as the legend goes, if you find a leprechaun’s pot of gold, you will also discover how old he (or she?) is.

4. Dying the Chicago River green on St. Patrick’s Day was initially an accident.

Oops? Apparently some plumbers were using fluorescein dye to trace the source of illegal pollution dumping in the river more than 50 years ago. In response to the dye, the river turned bright green — on St. Patty’s Day. The city apparently loved the coincidence so much that they have been honoring the tradition since then. The local plumbers union still sponsors the dyeing of the Chicago River.

St. Patrick's Day Chicago River