March 7, 2011

5 Quick Facts For St. Patrick's Day

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1. The World's First St. Patrick's Day Parade...

took place in Boston on March 17, 1737. Despite what a New Yorker might tell you, the first St. Patty's parade did not occur in New York City, 1762... although that parade might take the cake for oldest, planned St. Patrick's Day parade. The members of Boston's Charitable Irish Society started their 1737 parade spontaneously, perhaps after enjoying a few celebratory pints.

2. There Was No Guinness...

at the first St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston. Unfortunately, the members of the Charitable Irish Society were unable to quench their thirsts with pints of the black stuff in 1737, as Arthur Guinness did not begin brewing until 1759 and did not begin exporting until 1769.

 3. The Shamrock Is Not...

an actual plant, botanically-speaking. While the Republic of Ireland acknowledges the yellow suckling clover (Trifolium dubium) as the official "shamrock," historians still argue over what plant -- if any -- St. Patrick used during his roving ministry. In North America, what shops typically sell as "shamrocks" are either wood sorrels (Oxalis acetosella) or white clovers (Trifolium repens).

 4. St. Patrick Was Not...

Irish. Most sources indicate he was English and that Irish raiders kidnapped him and sold him into slavery in Ireland at some point during the late 4th or early 5th century A.D. Oh yeah, and his name wasn't Patrick, it was Maewyn Succat (or Magonus Sucatus).

5. St. Patrick Did Not...

drive any real, living-breathing snakes out of Ireland, because there weren't any wild snakes in Ireland during the 4th or 5th centuries.

Further Reading:

P.S. Hey there! If you liked this post, I have a hunch you'll love NEON DRUID: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy. It's a collection of 17 short stories all rooted in Celtic mythology.

P.P.S. You can also check out my new blog, Irish Myths, where I unveil the secrets of Celtic mythology, Irish mythology, and Irish folklore.


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