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St. Patrick's Day Myths and Fun Facts

March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day; so, for fun, let’s explore some of the
myths surrounding this Irish holiday as well as a few fun facts.

Myths

1) St. Patrick was born in Ireland. Here is a surprise; St. Patrick isn’t Irish at all! He was really born in Britain, where as a teen, he was captured, sold into slavery, and shipped to Ireland.

2) St. Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland. It’s
true there are none living in Ireland today, but according to scientists, none every did. You can’t chase something away that isn't there in the first place!

3) Since the leaves of a shamrock form a triad (a group of three), St. Patrick used it to describe the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit so that people could understand the Three in One. However, there is nothing in any literature or history to support this idea although it does make a great object lesson.

4) Legend says each of the four leaves of the clover means something. The first leaf is for hope; the second for faith; the third for love and the fourth leaf is for luck. Someone came up with this, but since a clover is just a plant, the leaves mean absolutely nothing.

5) Kissing the Blarney Stone will give you the eloquent power of winning or convincing talk. Once upon a time, visitors to this stone had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the wall surrounding the Blarney Stone to kiss it. Those attempting this were lucky not to receive the kiss of death.

Fun Facts

1) The tradition of wearing green originally was to promote Ireland otherwise known as "The Green Isle." After the British invasion of Ireland, few people wore green because it meant death. It would be like wearing red, white, and blue in the Middle East today. When the Irish immigrated to the U.S. because of the potato famine, few were accepted and most were scorned because of their Catholic beliefs. For fear of being ridiculed and mocked only a small number would wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. Those who didn't adorn green were pinched for their lack of Irish pride. This “pinching” tradition continues today.

2) Did you know that in 1962, Chicago, Illinois began dying the Chicago River green, using a vegetable dye? An environmentally safe dye is used in amounts that keep the river festively green for about four to five hours.

3) The Irish flag is green, white, and orange. The green 
represents the people of southern Ireland, and orange
signifies the people of the north. White is the symbol of peace that brings the two groups together as a nation.

4) Boston was the first city to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day way back in 1737, but they did it in August, not March!

5) A famous Irish dish is cabbage and corned beef which I love to eat!

It is estimated that there are about 10,000 regular three-leaf clovers for every one lucky four-leaf clover you might find. Those aren’t very good mathematical odds whether you are Irish or not!

Want some activities for your classroom? Check out my St. Patrick's Day resources.

March Fraction Word Puzzles

Pot of Gold Glyph

St. Patrick's Day Crossword

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