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Did You Know #006 - Fun facts to help you score points
16 Mar 2020
Saint Paddy’s day is upon us! So obviously we need to dive into the history of this day so you can have some facts as well as your looming hangover.
Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (circa AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Even though we now celebrate it by drinking and dressing in all things green, it is still a religious day. It was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Patrick was a Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. According to legend, at the age of sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. Patrick went on to become a priest. According to tradition, Patrick’s mission was to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. Patrick's efforts against the druids/pagans were eventually turned into an allegory in which he drove "snakes" out of Ireland, despite the fact that snakes were not known to inhabit the region. Tradition holds that he died on 17 March 461 and was buried at Downpatrick.
Celebrations generally involve public parades, festivals and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks (shamrocks being the national flower of Ireland and national symbol of Saint Patrick’s Day). Christians who belong to liturgical denominations also attend church services and historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption. Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. However, there has been criticism of Saint Patrick's Day celebrations for having become too commercialised and for fostering negative stereotypes of the Irish people.
It was emigrants, particularly to the United States, who transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a largely secular holiday. Boston held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762. Since 1962 Chicago famously colours its river green to mark the holiday (Although blue was the colour traditionally associated with St. Patrick, green is now commonly connected with the day.)
So now you can impress your friends and score some points at your next quiz! But remember the luck of the Irish only goes so far, so stay safe and drink responsibly.
-Quiz Master Ildi