Did you know that an Irish-American astronaut actually played Irish music on an antique flute in the International Space Station on St. Patrick’s Day in 2011? (You can listen to the track here!) Or that the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador recognizes St. Patrick’s Day as a public holiday, giving government employees the day off from work? Continue reading to learn some interesting St. Patrick’s Day trivia to amaze your friends next March 17! At the end, try my St. Patrick’s Day quiz to see how much trivia you remember!
If you really want to get into the St. Patrick’s Day mood, listen to The Clancy Brothers in the background while you read! Here’s one of my favorite Irish songs, to get you started!
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 1: Which animal did St. Patrick banish from Ireland, according to legend?
According to legend, St. Patrick is responsible for there being no snakes in Ireland!
It’s true that there are no snakes in Ireland, but not because of St. Patrick. In fact, there were never any snakes in Ireland as a result of the Ice Age.
What does BANISH mean?
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 2: In Ireland, what color is traditionally associated with St. Patrick?
Are you thinking green? Think again!
Green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day for a handful of other reasons, but none of them has to do with St. Patrick. (Check out this Reader’s Digest article if you’re curious about why we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.)
The color traditionally associated with St. Patrick is…blue! Sky blue, as it turns out, and in Ireland, there is a specific shade of sky blue called St. Patrick’s blue.
Don’t think you can get away with wearing blue on St. Patrick’s Day in the United States, though! Whether you have Irish ancestry or not, anyone not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day in the United States is likely to get pinched!
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 3: Which city dyes its river green on St. Patrick’s Day?
Every St. Patrick’s Day, the city of Chicago dyes its river green!
During their time in power, the Obamas also dyed the water in the fountain in front of the White House green in homage to this Chicago tradition.
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 4: How did Irish pubs traditionally observe St. Patrick’s Day, until the 1960s?
When people think of St. Patrick’s Day, they often think of drinking. In the States, it’s popular to put green food coloring in your beer on St. Patrick’s Day, and people tend to get very, very drunk.
However, until the 1960s, pubs in Ireland observed the holiday by actually closing for the day! (St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, after all!)
What is a PUB?
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 5: What is Ireland’s nickname?
France is nicknamed The Hexagon, and Iceland is The Land of Fire and Ice. We call Italy The Boot, and Switzerland is The Land of Milk and Honey. So, what is Ireland’s nickname?
Ireland’s nickname is The Emerald Isle.
And no, this isn’t because they have emerald mines. It’s because of the rich, green color of the Irish countryside. Beautiful, isn’t it?
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 6: In which country was the first St. Patrick’s Day parade?
You may think that because St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland that the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was in Ireland. I certainly assumed that.
Nope! The very first St. Patrick’s Day parades were in the United States in the 1700s. NPR tells us that George Washington even gave his Irish soldiers the day off so they could celebrate.
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 7: Why is St. Patrick’s Day on March 17?
Lots of people assume that St. Patrick’s Day falls on Saint Patrick’s birthday, but like other feast days, March 17 marks the day of Saint Patrick’s death, not his birth.
Saint Patrick died on March 17 in the year 461.
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 8: What do the colors in Ireland’s flag represent?
There are three colors in Ireland’s flag—green, white, and orange—but what do they represent?
In simplified terms, the green represents the Catholics in Ireland. Orange represents the Irish Protestants. And white symbolizes unity between the two.
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 9: Where was St. Patrick born?
St. Patrick is universally associated with Ireland, but did you know that he wasn’t born in Ireland?
Saint Patrick was born in Scotland, as a matter of fact! He first went to Ireland as a teenager when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery by pirates! He was able to escape and return to Scotland a few years later. It was only as an adult that he returned to Ireland as a missionary, and he spent the last 40 years of his life in The Emerald Isle.
St. Patrick’s Day Trivia 10: What was St. Patrick’s real name?
Last but not least, St. Patrick was not named Patrick when he was born! He took the name Patrick when he became a priest.
Although scholars don’t all agree on his birth name, the most popular belief is that he was named Maewyn Succat.
Try the St. Patrick’s Day quiz!
Thank you for reading this post of St. Patrick’s Day trivia!
To help cement the trivia in your mind, try out this quick quiz! Or use the questions to test your friends and see how they do!