St. Patrick’s Day, what to do and why we celebrate

(Photo Supplied/Stephen J. Bailey/Downtown Fort Wayne)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – Saint Patrick’s Day is approaching so it is time to get out the green apparel and plan the weekend. However, other than it being an Irish holiday, do you know where the traditions we all have came from?  Here are some little known facts about St. Paddy’s Day.

  • St. Patrick’s Day marks the anniversary of Saint Patrick’s death which was said to be on March 17, 461.
  • It is a national holiday in Ireland. According to ProFlowers, banks, stores and businesses close for the day.
  • Shamrocks are the national flower of Ireland.
  • The color of St. Patrick’s Day used to be blue.  It is thought that the color changed to green because of Ireland’s nickname “The Emerald Isle,” the green in the Irish flag and the shamrock.  Green was worn as early as the 17th century.
  • According to legend, each leaf of the clover has a meaning. Hope, Faith, Love and Luck.
  • The United States has 34.7 million citizens with Irish ancestry.  That is more than seven times the population of Ireland.
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the U.S. was held in Boston in 1737.
  • St. Patrick was not Irish. He was born in 390 A.D. in England and was kidnapped at the age of 16, was shipped to Ireland and sold as a slave.  He later escaped to a monastery in England and came back to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to the people of Ireland.
  • Odds of finding a four leaf clover are about 1 in 10,000.
  • The world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in an Irish village.  It lasts 100 yards between two pubs in the village.
  • It used to be a dry holiday.  In an article posted on, for most of the 20th century, St. Patrick’s Day was strictly a religious holiday.  Pubs in Ireland were closed for business on the holiday. The only place that would sell beer is at the big national dog show which was always held on St. Patrick’s Day. The day converted to a national holiday in 1970 which allowed beer to be sold.
  • A lot of alcohol is consumed around the world.  In a 2012 estimate, $245 million was spent on beer for the holiday.  That amount is before tips to bartenders and waitstaff.
  • St. Patrick wasn’t his real name. At birth his name was Maewyn Succat.  He later changed his name to Patricius after becoming a priest.
  • St. Patrick is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland.  However, according to fossil records, Ireland has never been home to any snakes as it was too cold to host reptiles during the ice age.  According to Catholic Online, the seas surrounding Ireland have kept snakes out since then.
  • The leprechaun is a small Irish fairy.  They are said to be little unfriendly men living alone in the forest where they make and repair shoes and guard their treasures.
  • Eating meat used to be prohibited because of lent.  Later lent prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived.

So where can you celebrate the holiday in the area?  According to VisitFortWayne, There are plenty of St. Paddy’s Day events going on this weekend.

Saturday, March 16:

  • 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Fresh Thyme will have live entertainment, kids coloring station, free samples and a chance to win a giveaway.
  • 7 a.m. – O’Sullivan’s Italian Irish Pub will have green beer from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Irish stew at 12 p.m.m beer tent and bands on Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

Sunday, March 17:

  • 9:30 a.m. – 5k Kilt run/walk
  • 11 a.m. – Get Green Fest located at 924 W. Main Street just before the bridge over the St. Marys River. Fort Wayne Firefighters will turn the Saint Marys River green.
  • 12 p.m. – J.K. O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House  will feature music from O’Tooles Good Time Bagpipers and other music groups.  $5 cover. Doors open at 11 a.m.  No Green Beer. Ages 21 and over.
  • 12 p.m. – Gold Coin Hunt
  • 2:30 p.m. – Lucky Charms eating contest
  • 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. – Music, food, drinks and fun in the Get Green Fest Tent.
  • Deer Park Irish Pub will have green beer and live entertainment throughout the day.
  • Pedal City will have fresh pints, entertainment and games.
  • You can also find Irish Cuisine at the Friendly Fox and Henry’s Restaurant.

If you are going out to celebrate this weekend make sure you have fun and remember to say “Erin go Bragh” which translates to “Ireland Forever.”


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