I’m one of those people who starts searching for something on line, and I end up miles away; no where near my original intent. Maybe it’s because my mom bought Encyclopedia Brittanica for us as kids. My brother, Bill, and I would just pick a volume and start reading. Yes, Virginia, this was well before the internet. So, this morning, I started looking for St. Patrick’s Day cover photos for my Facebook page, and somehow I ended up reading up on the history of one of my favorite holidaze.
Did you know……
- St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.
- The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.
- There are seven places in the United States named after the shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland including Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK.
- Irish is the US’s second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.
- Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state in the US except Hawaii and New Mexico. It is the leading ancestry group in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Massachusetts doesn’t surprise me one bit!
- Across the US, 11 percent of residents lay claim to Irish ancestry. That number more than doubles to 23 percent in the state of Massachusetts.
- There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.
- St. Patrick started using the shamrock as a representation of the Holy Trinity.
- The color associated with St. Patrick is St. Patrick’s Blue.
- As a result of St. Patrick using the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity, on St. Patrick’s Day, it was tradition to place a shamrock in your lapel in honor of St. Patrick. The US commercialized the shamrock into the “Luck of the Irish”, completely skipping the religious representation.
I know, now you’re saying, “Hank, this is a blog about food and drink, not history!” What better holiday to talk about than St. Patrick’s Day on a blog about food and drink? I’ve got the perfect Guinness Stew to feed that hunger after a day of drinking green beer. I suggest you prep it BEFORE imbibing in the green beer!