11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About St. Patrick's Day

Some of your favorite traditions aren't Irish at all ...

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St. Patrick's Day dominates the month of March, with green beer, interesting legends, and unknown facts. Learn more about the man and holiday that's celebrated all around the country on March 17.

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St. Patrick wasn't Irish.
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St. Patrick was actually British, in either Scotland or Wales (no one is exactly sure which). After being forced into slavery by Irish pirates, he turned to his Christian faith and became one of the first people to bring the religion to the country in the fifth century, around the year 432.

And his birth name was Maewyn Succat.
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This is . He changed it to the Latin name Patricius after becoming a priest.

We should actually be wearing blue.
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Historians say that , not green. The became common during the 1600s and 1700s, when the clover became a symbol of nationalism and wearing green on lapels became the norm.

Americans rack up a pretty significant bar tab.
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On St. Patrick’s Day 2018, Americans were estimated to have spent a , with the average person paying $39.65. But it wasn't always such a party holiday...

It used to be a dry holiday.
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Up until the 1970s, St. Patrick's Day was considered a religious holiday in Ireland, meaning , thanks to a law written by Parliament member James O'Mara. However, Ireland later realized that they could , and the (green) beer was suddenly free-flowing.

There are more Irish people in America than in Ireland.
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According to recent , there are 39.6 million Americans who list their heritage as primarily or partially Irish, compared to 6.3 million people in Ireland.

A shamrock symbolizes hope, love, and life.
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to explain the Holy Trinity, but later interpretations also said the are meant to symbolize hope, love, and faith. If there's a fourth leaf, it symbolizes luck, which is why we consider four-leaf clovers to be lucky.

The traditional meal isn't actually Irish.
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Corned beef and cabbage has long been considered a special St. Patrick's Day dish, but it isn't traditionally Irish. Pork was actually the preferred meat of Ireland, but early found that beef was much cheaper, and they could easily cook the beef and cabbage in one pot.

St. Patrick probably didn't drive snakes out of Ireland.
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Some Irish legends claim that after being attacked. Historians and biologists say this probably isn't true, since there were to begin with, but we'll let St. Paddy have this one.

Chicago dyes the river green every year for St. Patrick's Day.
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Every year , the city dyes the river green using 40 pounds of powder, which reacts with the water to produce a green color. Don't worry, it's !

Boston hosts one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day parades in the U.S.
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Boston is where many Irish immigrants settled once they arrived in America, and the Irish spirit is still alive and well in the city. It hosts one of the biggest celebrations in the U.S., drawing around a million people to the parade, which is . In contrast, Arkansas hosts one of the shortest St. Patrick's Day parades in Hot Springs National Park — it's !

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