Begosh and begorah! Saint Paddy’s Day is upon us once again! It’s that wonderful time of year when leprechauns appear on more than just cereal boxes and we celebrate the Irish in us. Even if we’re not Irish, it a still a great excuse to put on that cool green outfit we’ve been saving in our closet, head down to the local pub for a hearty glass of green beer and break out our Irish brogue.
So where did all the shamrocks and other trappings come from, and who decided turning the town river green was a good idea? Read on to find out.
Shamrocks are a native Irish plant and are the Irish version of clover. How did they get mixed up in this Saint Paddy’s Day business? Well, when Saint Patrick was converting pagan Ireland to Christianity, their three leaves made an excellent analogy for the holy trinity.
To answer your next question, dyeing the river green started in Chicago in 1962. It takes over 40 pounds of vegetable-based dye to get the water a suitable shade of green.
Leprechauns may be known for hoarding their pots of gold, but these petite pixies were actually pretty shrewd businessmen. As legend has it, they made their fortune by making and mending shoes. Cobbling is hard work, so they’re understandably stingy about giving away their wealth.
The same can’t be said about those who celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. A recent estimate put the total amount spent on beer alone for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations at nearly $250 million, and that’s before tips. Overall, in 2016 American spent nearly $4.4 billion celebrating the holiday.
And if you’re hungry before you hit the pub, here’s a traditional Irish dish that should go perfectly with that green beer.
So, happy Saint Patrick’s Day. May the luck o’ the Irish be with you!