7 things you didn't know about St. Patrick's Day

  1. St. Patrick's name wasn't actually Patrick
  2. His real name was actually Maewyn Succat. Seriously. He became Patrick when he became a bishop.

  3. Green wasn't St. Patrick's color

  4. St. Patrick was initially depicted wearing blue, not green. Green became associated with the holiday after the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
  5. Public drunkenness on Patrick's Day isn't a new thing

  6. Hear older people complain about how back in their day people weren't so drunk and obnoxious on St. Patrick's Day? Unless they're hundreds of years old, that's not true.

    A New York Times report from 1860 notes that "there were a great many persons very much intoxicated" at the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

  7. Historically, it was a dry holiday in Ireland

  8. For most of the 20th century, St. 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.

  9. The very first parade didn't take place in Ireland.

  10. It actually happened in Boston in 1737 and was organized by 27 Irish emigrants living in the city who wanted to do something to commemorate their heritage.
  11. Catholics can eat corned beef today, even though it's a Friday in Lent

  12. Bishops Dennis Sullivan of Camden and Arthur Serratelli of Paterson and Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark have granted exceptions to the abstinence of meat on Friday for this year's St. Patrick's Day. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput also gave the OK.

    The Roman Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law allows dispensations on days in Lent when it coincides with a celebration like St. Patrick's Day, a statement from the Camden Diocese said.

  13. The world's largest shamrock is in Nebraska

  14. The town of O'Neill called, "Nebraska's Irish capital," started drawing a giant shamrock on its motorway every year for Patrick's Day in the 1980s.

    In the summer of 1998, the people of the town raised enough money to make the concrete shamrock permanent and, technically, the world's largest shamrock.
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