These days when we think of St. Patrick’s Day we think of big parades and people dressed in all green, drinking endless pints of Guinness. Believe it or not, there was once a time when St. Patrick’s Day looked very different. Read on for some historical fun facts about the luckiest day of the year.
1. St. Patrick might be a Patron Saint of Ireland – but he wasn’t actually born in Ireland, he was born in Britain. His name wasn’t Patrick either! His birth name was Maewyn Succat and according to the legend, he changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick) when he became a priest.
2. Historically, St. Patrick was associated with the color blue. Green did not become associated with the holiday until the late 18th century after it was linked to the Irish Independence movement.
3. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade did not originate in Ireland. Irish immigrants began observing the holiday in Boston in 1737 and the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1766.
4. Before becoming a national holiday in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was considered a strictly religious holiday in Ireland. That’s right, a holiday now associated with copious amounts of green beer was once a dry holiday!
5. More people of Irish ancestry live in the U.S. than in Ireland. As of 2017, there are over 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry – more than 7 times the population of Ireland itself.
Interested in learning more historical Believe It or Not’s? Ripley’s Times Square is home to many artifacts acquired by Robert Ripley himself while he traveled the world searching for the unbelievable. Stop by and learn the fascinating stories behind them all.