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Did you ever wonder about St. Patrick’s Day and how it started? Did you ever wonder about the color green used in the celebration? Here are some St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts in honor of the upcoming holiday!

Most people know that St Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrating the Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, but did you know St. Patrick was not Irish?

Saint Patrick (known as Magonus Socatus before sainthood) was born in 5th century Roman Britain but was captured and brought to Ireland as a slave at age 16. He escaped, but later returned as a missionary and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. It is believed he died on March 17th, 461. For hundreds of years he was forgotten, but then resurrected as the Patron Saint of Ireland in the early 17th century, hence the celebration of St Patrick’s Day on March 17th, the day he died.

st patricks day hat

Shamrocks refer to many plants not just one.

There still is no scientific consensus as to the precise botanical species of clover that is the true shamrock. The word shamrock refers primarily to the young springs of white or red clover, but sometimes the term is applied to a variety of three-leaved plants found in Ireland. The shamrock was originally associated with the Goddess of Ireland, Ana, but over time it became associated with St. Patrick’s Day because it is believed that Saint Patrick used the three-leafed clover to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. For good luck, the shamrock is usually included in an Irish bride’s bouquet and the boutonniere of the groom regardless of the day they marry.

St Patricks day pancakes

The color of Saint Patrick was blue not green.

A particular blue hue was known as St. Patrick blue and for hundreds of years it was this blue that was associated with the holiday. However, green became the dominant color of St Patrick’s Day over time as the holiday was used to highlight Irish nationalism against British rule in the 1790s. Now, the color green is often associated with the other more poetic name for Ireland, the Emerald Isles.

The St. Patrick‘s Day parade was invented in the United States.

On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English army marched through New York City. The parade and accompanying music helped the soldiers celebrate with their Irish roots, as well as reconnect with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Kelly Green Tablecloth

Chicago dyes its river green on St. Patrick’s Day.

Yes, for decades, Chicago has turned its river neon green every St. Patrick’s Day. At first I was horrified, but then I happily learned that the city uses natural veggie dye. The practice started in 1962 when city workers started using dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye would be a unique way to celebrate March 17th in this very Irish city. During their first attempt, they released enough green vegetable dye (100 pounds) into the river to keep it green for a week. Today, with an eye towards environmental caution, only 40 pounds of dye are used, and the river turns green for only several hours.

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Mothers Day is approaching and you would like to give something special to Mother to show her how much she means to you. Before looking around and finding something that suits you, here are some fun facts in honor of this special day:

Mother’s Day originated in the United States in the early 1900s. Although there are older traditions that celebrate similar holidays, they are not considered to be the origins of Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is meant to honor mothers and their influence in society, maternal bonds and motherhood itself. In the United States and Canada it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, but in other parts of the world it is sometimes celebrated in March, as well as in other months.

The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908. Anna Jarvis honored her mother Ann Jarvis with a memorial. Ann Jarvis had started a committee in 1868 to establish ‘Mother’s Friendship Day’. Her motivation had been to reunite families after the Civil War. She died in 1905, before Mother’s Day became a holiday.

In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked both ‘Mother’s Day’ and ‘the second Sunday in May’. She also created Mother’s Day International Association

At first, people observed Mother’s Day by attending church, writing letters to their mothers, and eventually, by sending cards, presents, and flowers. With the increasing gift-giving activity associated with Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis became enraged. She believed that the day’s sentiment was being sacrificed at the expense of greed and profit. In 1923 she filed a lawsuit to stop a Mother’s Day festival, and was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a convention selling carnations for a war mother’s group. Before her death in 1948, Jarvis is said to have confessed that she regretted ever starting the mother’s day tradition.

Despite Jarvis’s misgivings, Mother’s Day has flourished in the United States. In fact, the second Sunday of May has become the most popular day of the year to dine out, and telephone lines record their highest traffic, as sons and daughters everywhere take advantage of this day to honor and to express appreciation of their mothers.

flower on cloth napkin

Did you know???

Of all the flowers bought for holidays, one quarter are purchased for Mother’s Day.

Carnations are a popular symbol of Mother’s Day. The tradition is to honor mothers who are living with colored flowers, and those who are deceased with white ones. Most of the flowers given for Mother’s Day come from California

The amount of money spent on Mother’s Day in the U.S. is approximately $14 billion.

Common gifts on Mother’s Day include: flowers, dinner or lunch in a restaurant, jewelry, gift cards, clothing and treats such as a trip to a spa. Books, CDs, housewares and gardening tools are popular gifts as well.

Approximately 122 million phone calls are made to moms on Mother’s Day in the United States

In the former Yugoslavia, children would tie up their mother on Mother’s Day. In order to be freed she had to pay them with treats.

In most countries and languages, the word for mother begins with ‘M’

The world’s most prolific mother was a Russian lady, Mrs. Vassilyev, who had 69 children in 27 pregnancies. She had no single births, but multiple sets of twins, triplets and quadruplets. And it seems 67 of those kids survived past infancy.

 

 

 

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