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St. Patrick’s Day

Every year, on March 17, millions of people across the world celebrate St Patrick’s day. Many will celebrate the heritage and the culture of the Irish by participating in Irish parades, wearing all green, eating Shamrock cookies, drinking with friends at their favourite pub, and sharing their favourite Irish quotes and blessings across social media. But, surprisingly little is known for sure about Ireland’s patron saint.

Here are a few of the facts and legends that surround him: 

  1. One thing we do know is that he wasn’t Irish. He was born in either Wales or Scotland around 387 and his parents were probably Roman citizens
  2. Legend says his given name was Maewyn Succat
  3. He was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland where he was sold as a slave and forced to work for six years herding sheep
  4. At the age of 22, he escaped and fled to England where he spent the next 12 years at a monastery
  5. He returned to Ireland in 433 where he is reported to have used the shamrock to preach about the Holy Trinity
  6. He is not the only patron saint of Ireland: St Brigid of Kildare and St Columbcille share that honour too
  7. He is praised for the miracle of driving snakes out of Ireland, although fossil evidence suggests that there never were any snakes in Ireland
  8. Although St Patrick’s Day is associated with the colour green, St Patrick himself preferred blue
  9. From 1903-1970, St Patrick’s Day was classed as a religious holiday in Ireland and pubs were shut
  10. St Patrick is said to have died on March 17, 461
  11. March 17 is a holiday in Montserrat which was founded by Irish immigrants in the 17th century
  12. The March 17 celebration started in 1631 when the Church established a Feast Day honouring St. Patrick
  13. The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade apparently didn’t take place in Ireland, but in New York City in 1762
  14. Guinness sales soar on St. Patrick's Day. Recent figures show that 5.5 million pints of the black stuff are downed around the world every day. On St. Patrick's Day that figure is doubled

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