~St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, and a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. ~34 million Americans have Irish ancestry, according to the 2003 US Census. That’s almost nine times the population of Ireland, which has 4.1 million people!
~The harp is the symbol of Ireland as is the color green, commonly associated with Ireland, also known as “The Emerald Isle.”
~The Irish flag is green, white and orange. The green symbolizes the people of the south, and orange, the people of the north. White represents the peace that brings them together as a nation.
~The name “leprechaun” has several origins. It could be from the Irish Gaelic word “leipreachan,” which means “a kind of aqueous sprite.” Or, it could be from “leathbhrogan,” which means “shoemaker.”
~In Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps and the children wear orange, white and green badges.
~Dublin, the capital of Ireland, has a huge St. Patrick’s Day festival from March 15-19, that features a parade, family carnivals, treasure hunt, dance, theatre and more. In the US parades are often held on the Sunday before March 17. Some paint the yellow street lines green for the day and in Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green with a special temporary dye. There has been a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston since 1737 and Montreal hosts Canada’s longest running St. Patrick’s Day parade, which began in 1824.
~For every four-leaf clover, there are an estimated 10,000 three leaf clovers. ~Legend says the first leaf is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck!
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