UPDATE 3/12/2015 – I’ve added a link to a FREE St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts Trivia Game
In the U.S., it seems like we celebrate everything and anything. Isn’t it great that we live in a melting pot of cultures and can celebrate different holidays? But have you ever wondered about the history behind the holidays or why we even celebrate it? I do. And since this month celebrates St. Patrick’s day, I thought it would be fun to gather fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day and make a printable trivia game. Hope you enjoy.
1) Was St. Patrick Irish?
No. According to St. Patrick’s autobiography, he states that he was born in a town called Bannavem Taburniae. However, this town doesn’t show up on any map and experts disagree on the country of origin. Some experts believe this town was in Scotland, Wales, or Britain around 385 AD. The majority of the sites I visited listed Britain as his birth place.
2) If he wasn’t Irish, how did he become associated with Irish history?
He was kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of 16 and sold as a slave in Ireland. He escaped at the age of 22 after having a dream sent from God in which he was told to leave Ireland. He made his way to England where he studied to become a priest and later returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary and spread the word of God for forty years.
3) What was St. Patrick’s real name?
His real name was thought to be Maewyn Succat and he took the name St. Patrick after becoming a priest.
4) Why do we celebrate on March 17th?
This is the day of St. Patrick’s death and his entrance into heaven. This is St. Patrick’s feast day.
5) Why are Shamrocks associated with St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick used the three leaves of the seamrog plant (three leaf clover grown in Ireland) to explain the Holy Trinity and convert Irish pagans to Christianity. The Shamrock was also supposedly worn to symbolize the cross.
6) Why the color green?
The original color associated with St. Patrick was blue. After searching the web, there is some debate over why the color green slowly became associated with St. Patrick’s Day. One reason green is supposedly associated with St. Patrick’s Day is because Ireland, nicknamed the Emerald Isle, is a very green and lush country. Wearing green became a tribute and symbol of Irish pride. Another reason is because of the green Shamrock used by St. Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity. Others believe it’s because of the Irish flag – Catholics wear green and Protestants wear orange. The white between the two colors symbolizes peace between the two. Lastly, green may have become associated with this day because it was worn by Irish soldiers on March 17 in an uprising against British rule in Ireland. This was done to show unity and make a political statement.
7) Why do you get pinched if you forget to wear green?
Apparently, this is more of an American tradition. It was believed that if you were Irish and forgot to wear green that you didn’t have Irish pride and got pinched. It is also thought that wearing green made you invisible to Leprechauns. Leprechauns would pinch anyone not wearing green and thus a pinch for those not wearing green was a reminder that they could be seen by Leprechauns.
8) Why is drinking associated with St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick’s Day falls within Lent, the season before Easter when Catholics give up their vices as penance. The feast of St. Patrick’s Day is a one day reprieve when Irish men could down some ale.
9) How much do people drink on St. Patrick’s Day?
5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed on any given day around the world. On St. Patrick’s Day it jumps to over 13 million pints!
10) What food is associated with St. Patrick’s Day?
Cabbage and boiled bacon was a traditional dish served on this day in Ireland. When the Irish came to America, they couldn’t afford bacon and bought brisket and cabbage for special meals. Thus, corned beef and cabbage became associated with St. Patrick’s Day in America.
Other fun facts –
- There are more people with Irish ancestry living in America than in Ireland. 34 million Irish live in America, while there are 4.2 million in Ireland.
- Odds of finding a four leaf clover are 1 in 10,000. Finding one symbolized faith, hope, love, and luck for the finder
- Irish legends says that finding a five leaf clover is even better, but odds jump to 1 in 1,000,000
- The first St. Patrick’s day celebration was in Boston in 1737
New York City holds the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. It was first held in 1762, by a group of Irish soldiers. The world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade is only 100 yards and is held in the Irish village of Dripsey.
- Each year, Chicago dyes the river green with a secret green recipe for St. Patrick’s Day
- The myth of St. Patrick driving snakes out of Ireland is not true, there are no snakes in Ireland. It is said this story symbolizes St. Patrick cleansing the island of Paganism.
- The best way to make Shamrock green beer is to add blue food coloring to a light color beer.
- Lucky Charms was created in 1963
- In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday where banks and stores close for the day.
Visit my Pinterest board for more St. Patrick’s Day ideas