St. Patrick’s Day – Myths and Facts
In honour of St Patrick’s Day 2015, we thought we’d pass on a few interesting facts – and dispel some myths – about the annual celebration!
- The total number of people in Canada claiming Irish origin was 4,544,870, at the last count done in 2011. We wonder how many of our seniors are of Irish descent?
- Although many Canadians would love it, St. Patrick’s Day is only a public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s also a national holiday on Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory located in the Caribbean (that saw an abundance of Irish emigrants in the 17th century), in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.
- In 2013 St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in space for only the second time, by our very own Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. Hadfield performed Danny Boy and took photos of Ireland from the International Space Station.
- Most people know St. Paddy’s Day for the colour green and an excuse to enjoy some beer. According to Diageo, the global drinks firm that owns and distributes Guinness, more than 13 million pints of the beer are consumed around the world every St Patrick’s Day. That’s a lot of stout!
- Montreal has one of Canada’s biggest and longest-running St. Paddy’s parades – this year will be the 192nd year!
- The first ever St. Paddy’s parade didn’t even take place in Ireland, it took place in the U.S.
- As part of a 40-year tradition the Chicago River will see more than 45 lbs of green vegetable dye dumped into it this year.
- St. Patrick wasn’t Irish! He was born around 400 AD in Britain, when it was still part of the Roman Empire. But, when he was 16 he was kidnapped by Irish pirates who sold him into slavery in Ireland.
- The shamrock has been used as a symbol of Ireland since the 18th century and legend has it that St. Patrick used the three leaves of the green plant to illustrate the trinity of the Christian god. It’s a lovely story, but apparently there’s no evidence of it.
- You’ve probably heard the legend that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Well, experts say the island nation has never had any snakes on it!