Fun Facts About St. Patrick’s Day
The mention of St Patrick’s Day may arouse thoughts of rosy-cheeked leprechauns, folks swigging back pints of Guinness, and festive parades. But, St. Patrick’s Day is more than the “wearin’ o’ the green,” and is rich in history and tradition dating back hundreds of years. Here are some fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day and how it came to be.
St. Patrick and Leprechauns
Surprisingly St. Patrick was not Irish. He was a nobleman, born in Britain around 400 A.D. According to history, he was an atheist for the first part of his life but discovered faith during his 17-year enslavement in Ireland. Managing to escape back to his homeland, he later returned to Ireland to work as a missionary.
Since around the 9th or 10th century, the people of Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. However, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day did not take place in Ireland, but in the United States. On March 17,1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City, NY.
Many legends are associated with St. Patrick, all of which are nothing more than folklore. One of the most famous is that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. There is no evidence of this. Another popular belief is that St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland. The tale claims that he chased all snakes into the ocean. However, there have never been snakes in Ireland during the post-glacial period. The absence of snakes and the symbolism associated with snakes is believed to explain that story. The people of Ireland were said to close the day with the “drowning” of the shamrock, by placing one in a glass of whiskey before drinking it.
As far as our rosy-cheeked leprechauns – Irish folklore is responsible for that legend. The first recorded mention of these boozy, little, mischievous men in green goes back to the 8th century, originating in the word “Luchorpán,” which means “little body.”
As a holiday, St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America in 1737. The Charitable Irish Society of Boston organized the first commemoration, which included a feast and religious service. This first celebration of the holiday in the colonies was in large part to honor and celebrate the Irish culture that so many colonists were missing.
There are many traditional foods and drinks typically consumed during the feast of St. Patrick’s Day. Irish Soda Bread is a traditional peasant food and made with basic ingredients: flour, baking soda, soured milk, and salt. Before baking, a cross was cut on the top with a knife, to ward off the devil and protect the household. This bread is perishable so it was made every 2-3 days and eaten with the main meal.
Corned beef and cabbage is an American-Irish dish, eaten in the early spring. It is a hearty meal, made with rustic ingredients. In the 19th century, many Irish immigrants in the U.S. were poor. Corned beef was an affordable meat, cabbage a spring vegetable, and potatoes a traditional Irish food item. These were all mixed together and cooked “low and slow” to break down the meat, resulting in a stew of tender meat, and vegetables.
On a typical day, Americans drink about 600,000 pints of the Dublin-based beer. According to USA TODAY in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, about 3 million pints of Guinness are consumed.
St. Patrick’s Day is a feast seeped in rich history and tradition. Modern revelers partake in a day of eating, drinking, and celebrating with friends and family. Main & Market is offering a mouth-watering menu filled with hearty traditional foods that are sure to be a delicious addition to any celebration. We will also have a catering menu to help celebrate St. Patrick’s day.