Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Facts and Trivia (and happy birthday to my friend Frankie!)

St. Patrick's Day, a day when suddenly everyone claims to be or wants to be Irish. I've always thought I would have liked to be Irish or Scottish, maybe it's the accent or maybe it happened after viewing the Wizard of Oz. Those lollipop guild people remind me of little leprechauns and then the similarities between the rainbow.....yellow brick road........coincidence? you decide......but are some thoughts and facts gathered in remembrance of this wacky day of celebration.
An Irish Friendship Wish

May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
Universally regarded as a symbol of good fortune (in reality, a horticultural anomaly), the four-leaf clover is often thought to represent "the luck of the Irish." But that's a bit of blarney. The shamrock, or seamróg in Gaelic (meaning "young clover"), is the national plant of the Emerald Isle, but it has only three leaves.

And there isn't just one type: Many types of clover are considered shamrocks. Test your friends with this four-leaf-clover trivia over a pint of green beer on Saint Patrick's Day. The four-leaf clover achieved "lucky" status because the ancient Celtic druids viewed it as a sign of good luck. According to legend, during the fifth century, Saint Patrick used the shamrock to teach the Celts about the Holy Trinity. The three leaves attached to a single stem represented the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in one God. If Saint Patrick came across a four-leaf clover, he used the extra leaf to represent "God's grace."

The Chicago River, dyed
green for St. Patrick's Day.

There are 3.8 million people in Ireland, but when Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, it seems that the whole world turns Irish.
The day commemorates Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland in the Fifth Century.
Although not an official holiday in the United States, St. Patrick's Day has a long history of being celebrated with parades and general goodwill toward all things Irish, or at least Irish-American.
(Translation: green beer, corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread).
The Irish who immigrated to the United States brought the traditions of the home land with them. Many who fled the poverty, famine and unrest landed on the shores of North America. In the US today, there are 33.7 million residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself.

Some more Irish-American numbers...
156,000 - U.S. residents born in Ireland, which was among the top 10 countries of birth among the foreign-born population as recently as 1970.
373,000 - Tourists and business travelers from "the old sod" who visit the United States annually.
$24 billion - The value of U.S. imports from the Republic of Ireland during a recent 10-month period (January-October 2005). Meanwhile, the United States exported $7.5 billion worth of goods to Ireland.
22 - Gallons of beer consumed per capita by Americans annually. Some establishments offer beer dyed green in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
9 - Number of places in the United States which share the name of Dublin, Ireland's capital city. Dublin, Ohio, was the most populous, at 31,392, followed closely by Dublin, California, at 29,973.
4 - Number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia and Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 2,623 and 2,029 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Indiana had 168 residents and Shamrock, Oklahoma, 125.
If you're still not into the spirit of St. Paddy's Day after stopping by one of the places named "Shamrock" or "Dublin," then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, with 3,488 residents, of whom in a ratio of 1-in-6 are of Irish descent. 

Fun Facts about the Irish
34 million Americans have Irish ancestry, according to the 2003 US Census. That’s almost nine times the population of Ireland, which has 4.1 million people.
Nine of the people who signed our Declaration Of Independence were of Irish origin, and nineteen Presidents of the United States proudly claim Irish heritage -- including our first President, George Washington.
Some American towns have “Irish” names. You could visit: Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia; Shamrock Lakes, Indiana; Shamrock, Oklahoma; Shamrock, Texas; Dublin, California and Dublin, Ohio.
The harp is the symbol of Ireland. The color green is also commonly associated with Ireland, also known as “the Emerald Isle.”
The Irish flag is green, white and orange. The green symbolizes the people of the south, and orange, the people of the north. White represents the peace that brings them together as a nation.
The name “leprechaun” has several origins. It could be from the Irish Gaelic word “leipreachan,” which means “a kind of aqueous sprite.” Or, it could be from “leath bhrogan,” which means “shoemaker.”

Fun Facts about Clovers
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the highest number of leaves found on a clover is 14.
One estimate suggests that there are about 10,000 regular three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover.
Legend says that each leaf of the clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.

1 comment:

Kev Stevens said...

Your article on St Patricks Day was very informative and well written, thanks for sharing this information. St Patricks day celebrations