St Patrick Facts
St Patrick Facts

43 Fun St. Patrick's Day Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published October 14, 2020Updated March 17, 2021
  • Although St. Patrick's Day originated as an Irish holiday commemorating Ireland's patron saint, Patrick was actually born in Britain. He first went to Ireland as a kidnapped slave and only later returned as a bishop and missionary.[11]
  • St. Patrick's Day was originally kept as a religious holiday; it wasn't until immigrants in America began to celebrate it that it became a secular celebration of Irish heritage.[11]
  • For many Irish, St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of the miraculous works of their patron saint, such as his successful prayer to God to keep "venomous beasts" from inhabiting their island.[6]
  • The four-leaf clover is a popular symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, but the symbol's origin is from a legend about Saint Patrick using a shamrock with three, not four, leaves to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.[3][11]
  • On St. Patrick’s Day of 2017, a worldwide total of 13 million pints of the Irish stout Guinness were consumed.[3]
  • The oldest known St. Patrick's Day parade was in 1601, in a Spanish colony at the site of what is now St. Augustine, Florida.[1]
  • In 1967, an Irish-American from Shamrock, Texas, wrote the mayor of Dublin asking to borrow Ireland’s famous Blarney Stone for display in Shamrock’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Dublin’s mayor declined but sent the Texan a small piece of granite to be the Blarney Stone’s “twin.”[7]
  • St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Ireland’s patron saint, who is credited with converting Ireland to Christianity in the 5th century CE.[11]
  • St Patrick Ireland
    Few saints are as tied to a given nation as St. Patrick is to Ireland

  • St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the date of Saint Patrick's death. According to legend, Patrick was 122 years old when he died.[6]
  • Every year, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Giza Pyramids are all illuminated with green lights.[3]
  • The color originally associated with Saint Patrick was actually blue. It wasn’t until St. Patrick’s Day became a secular celebration of all things Irish that green became the holiday’s dominant color.[11]
  • According to legend, Saint Patrick once discovered the identity of a sheep thief by using his holy power to command the sheep to bleat in the stomach of the person who had eaten it.[6]
  • Chicago began its annual tradition of coloring its river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day in 1962.[11]
  • Nineteenth-century New Zealanders celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a series of athletic contests.[7]
  • Leprechauns are commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day; however, these fairy-type creatures come from Celtic folktales rather than Irish or Christian lore.[1]
  • In 2020, both New York City and Boston were forced to cancel their St. Patrick’s Day parades for the first time in decades due to outbreaks of COVID-19.[1]
  • Many bars serve green-colored beer on St. Patrick’s Day.[3]
  • St Patricks Beer
    Festive, but not particularly appetizing

  • People all over the world eat corned beef and cabbage as a traditional St. Patrick's Day meal, but this food combination is actually Irish-American rather than Irish in origin.[1]
  • Although St. Patrick's Day is Ireland's most famous holiday, Patrick is actually only one of three patron saints to Ireland. The other two are Saint Brigid, the patron of midwives and Irish nuns, and Saint Colmcille, who is also Scotland's patron saint.[9]
  • Chicago, New York, London, and Dublin host the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades.[10]
  • In the 19th century, so many Irish babies were named after Saint Patrick that “Paddy” went from being a nickname for someone named Patrick to a name for any Irishman in general.[12]
  • Patrick is one of Ireland's top ten most popular names.[12]
  • In addition to Ireland, Saint Patrick is also the patron saint of Nigeria and Boston, and of paralegals and engineers.[12]
  • St Patrick Shamrock
    The famous "luck of the Irish" is associated heavily with their national plant
  • The shamrock, commonly associated with St. Patrick's Day, is Ireland’s national plant.[11]
  • Early US celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day took the form of banquets held at elite clubs in cities with large Irish populations, like Boston, Philadelphia, Savannah, and New York.[8]
  • Seventeenth-century celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland were often brought to a close with the final tradition of placing a shamrock in a glass of whiskey before downing it.[8]
  • On St. Patrick's Day in the United States, people imbibe around 3 million pints of the Irish stout Guinness—five times the amount consumed on any other day.[8]
  • Although the three-leaf clover is more common, shamrocks sometimes do grow a fourth leaf and are considered symbols of good luck when they do.[5]
  • Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is a tradition that stems from the lore surrounding leprechauns. The little tricksters supposedly pinch anyone within sight, unless the person is wearing green, which makes them invisible to leprechauns.[5]
  • In addition to guarding one's self from pinches, wearing green on St. Patrick's Day is considered to bring good luck.[5]
  • Great Britain didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during the 1970s, when they were engaged in a violent conflict with parts of Ireland.[4]
  • St Patrick
    The secret of the green dye is closely guarded
  • Every St. Patrick’s Day, an unknown powder is used to turn Chicago’s river green. Only members of two Irish-American families—the Butlers and the Rowans—know the recipe for the powder and are allowed on the boat crew that distributes it.[8]
  • Despite being a holiday of Irish origin, St. Patrick’s Day is now celebrated on every world continent.[4]
  • St. Patrick’s Day was recognized by the Vatican as an official feast day in 1631.[4]
  • In the latter part of the 19th century, Irish high society celebrated St. Patrick's Day at a grand ball held at the castle in Dublin.[4]
  • St. Patrick’s Day was declared a public, rather than religious, holiday in Ireland in 1904.[4]
  • Up until the latter half of the 1900s, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was much more somber than its American counterpart. Most people attended Mass and watched a military parade, but the one thing they didn’t do was go to bars, which were all closed for the day.[4]
  • The modern St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin is a four-day event, culminating with a parade attended by half a million people on the actual day.[4]
  • The first public St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were held in the United States in Boston in 1737. New York City followed suit with their own parade in 1762.[4]
  • On March 17, 2018, Americans spent 5.9 billion dollars in bars and pubs across the nation.[2]
  • Boston, home to a huge population of Irish-Americans, has around 1 million celebrants watching its 3-mile-long St. Patrick’s Day parade.[2]
  • The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is one of the world’s shortest, covering only 98 feet.[2]
  • The first Ronald McDonald House was built through a fundraising partnership between the Philadelphia Eagles and McDonald’s famous mint-flavored "shamrock shakes," which are only sold around St. Patrick's Day.[2]
  • Fun St. Patrick's Day INFOGRAPHIC
    Irish Infographic Thumbnail

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