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Facts About St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and must of us are thinking of green beer and parades. But, St. Patrick’s Day actually has a rich, interesting history.

Check out these St. Patrick's Day facts from MentalFloss.com:

We should really wear blue. Saint Patrick himself would have to deal with pinching on his feast day. His color was “Saint Patrick’s blue,” a light shade. The color green only became associated with the big day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.

Saint Patrick was British. Although he made his mark by introducing Christianity to Ireland in the year 432, Patrick wasn’t Irish himself. He was born to Roman parents in Scotland or Wales in the late fourth century.

It used to be a dry holiday. For most of the 20th century, Saint Patrick’s Day was considered a strictly religious holiday in Ireland, which meant that the nation’s pubs were closed for business on March 17. (The one exception went to beer vendors at the big national dog show, which was always held on Saint Patrick’s Day.) In 1970, the day was converted to a national holiday, and the stout resumed flowing.

There’s a reason for the Shamrocks. How did the shamrock become associated with Saint Patrick? According to Irish legend, the saint used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland.

There’s no corn in that beef. Corned beef and cabbage, a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day staple, doesn’t have anything to do with the grain corn. Instead, it’s a nod to the large grains of salt that were historically used to cure meats, which were also known as “corns.”

The world runs up quite a bar tab. All of the Saint Patrick’s Day revelry around the globe is great news for brewers. A 2012 estimate pegged the total amount spent on beer for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations at $245 million. And that’s before tips to pubs’ bartenders.