Educate. Empower. Prevent.

Division of the J. Moss Foundation

St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts

We found some interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day on and thought we’d share them with you!


The original color of St. Patrick was blue, not green.

There was a particular shade of blue known as St. Patrick’s blue.

 The green color became associated with Ireland because of the Emerald Isle, the landscape itself, the shamrock that St. Patrick used to explain the trinity- the symbol of Irish Catholic Nationalism.

Drinking on St. Patrick’s Day was against the law.

Up until the 1970’s, Irish law mandated that pubs were closed on March 17th. Beginning 1995 there was a national campaign to use St. Patrick’s Day (and the pubs) as an opportunity to drive tourism.

There are 36.5 million U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry.

 This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (more than four million).

The shamrock symbolizes the rebirth of Spring

The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring.

Celts passed religion, legend and history  from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs.

Music is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs. After being conquered by the English, and forbidden to speak their own language, the Irish, like other oppressed peoples, turned to music to help them remember important events and hold on to their heritage and history

The original St. Patrick’s Day meal was Irish Bacon and Cabbage, not corned beef.

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage.Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century.Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day(’s an American Invention ). 

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, a Catholic holy day. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film called Darby O’Gill & the Little People, which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun than the cantankerous little man of Irish folklore. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but has quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland in general.


Leave a Reply