Lucky 7: Facts to get Your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Off to an Authentic Start

St. Patrick’s Day 2023 is here, and it’s time for people around the world to celebrate in various ways. Few

St. Patrick's Day authentic

St. Patrick’s Day 2023 is here, and it’s time for people around the world to celebrate in various ways.

Few countries take the holiday as seriously as the United States, but there are a myriad of misconceptions around the favorite March holiday.

While the Irish love their holiday, in Ireland the celebrations often aren’t as over-the-top, and they don’t always involve never-ending liquor or beer, contrary to popular belief. Except, of course, in places heavily trafficked by tourists who are looking for a green celebration.

For instance, Dublin (along with Cork, Limerick and Galway) now sees nearly half a million people flock to the city for a parade and celebration. But smaller cities and towns across the country often opt for a more traditional celebration, with traditional music, sean nós singing and dancing, horse racing and GAA matches. Parades tend to be smaller and less focused on imbibing.

Celebrations in the US often look completely alien compared to other parts of the world, with a focus on green (the original color was blue), drinking, and leprechauns.


In order to have your most authentic celebration possible, here are 7 facts you should know:

1. The ‘Green’ Holiday Started Out as ‘Blue’


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Although the color for St. Patrick’s Day is now undeniably green, it wasn’t always so. While kelly green is a color most people bring to mind when they think of the Emerald Isle, the official color of 5th-century St. Patrick was actually “St. Patrick’s blue.” It was a light sky blue color. The link to green arrived in the late 18th century after the Irish independence movement.

2. St. Patrick’s Day Used to be Dry

Although St. Paddy’s day is now synonymous with drinking, once upon a time it was a proper dry religious holiday. Before the 1970’s, pubs were closed in Ireland on March 17, and it was observed as a solemn religious holiday. More akin to Easter in the US in how it was celebrated, without the bunnies and eggs.

3. St. Patrick Wasn’t Actually Irish


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What?! The patron saint of the Irish pub crawl wasn’t Irish? Nope – he was born in Scotland (or possibly Wales, depending on who you ask) to Roman parents. He simply brought Christianity to Ireland in 432.

4. Although the Green Came Later, Shamrocks are OG


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Although it wasn’t until the 18th century that the holiday adopted a green motif, shamrocks have been around since the start. Legend has it that St. Patrick used shamrocks to model the Holy Trinity, and they’ve been a part of St. Patrick’s day for centuries.

5. St. Patrick May Not Have Driven Off Any Snakes at All

Non-religious people have probably already laid the myth of St. Patrick and his snakes to rest in their minds. But there’s a compelling reason for even the religiously-minded to abandon the myth that St. Patrick drove snakes (iconography associated with Satan) out of Ireland. After all, the island nation has historically had almost no snake skeletons unearthed. It’s a relatively cold place, inimical to the cold-blooded nature of snakes. And because it’s an island, any snakes migrating would have to cross cold and treacherous waters. So they were likely never there to begin with, regardless of St. Patrick’s nope rope crusade.

6. St. Patrick Was Almost St. Maewyn

St. Maewyn’s Day almost has a ring to it, and that was nearly the name of the celebration we know so well. St. Patrick was actually born to the name Maewyn Succat – pronounced may-wynn sue-cot. He changed his name to Patricius after he became a priest.

7. We’re Actually Celebrating the Guy’s Death

In a morbid twist few Americans seem aware of, we aren’t actually celebrating the birthday of St. Patrick on March 17. We’re celebrating the day he shuffled off this mortal coil: March 17, 461 AD. It’s not uncommon for Saints’ death days to be marked rather than their birthdays. But since Patricius is the only one Americans really celebrate en masse, they may not be aware.


Even though we operate on a number of misconceptions, Americans love St. Patrick’s Day.

In 2017, the US consumed 13 million pints of Guinness. And since then, beer sales have increased over 174%. In 2023, it’s estimated that Americans will spend $6.8 billion to celebrate the holiday.

And one of the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades happens in New York City.

Whether you’re the type of person to celebrate at home or a bar, with friends or alone – have fun and stay safe.

Slàinte mhath.