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13 Facts About St. Patrick’s Day That May Surprise You & Other Info

Updated 2/25/2020

It’s no surprise that when March 17 rolls around, those who are Irish (and those who aren’t) are ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. From not-so-known facts, must-haves, places to visit, and more, consider this your pot of gold when it comes to St. Patrick's Day fun.

13 St. Patrick's Day Facts

Did you know?

  1. St. Patrick was born around 390 AD.
  2. St. Patrick is one of Ireland’s patron saints. 
  3. Boston held the first United States St. Patrick’s Day celebration in 1737.
  4. The first official St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City was held on March 17, 1762.
  5. St. Patrick’s Day was originally a Roman Catholic feast observed in Ireland.
  6. St. Patrick’s dad was a Christian deacon. 
  7. Some believe St. Patrick’s born name was Maewyn Succat. However, the two existing documents with his signature are penned “Patricius.”
  8. New York City holds one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the world.
  9. St. Patrick is not Irish; he was born in either Scotland, England or Wales. 
  10. The British Isles were occupied during the Romans during St. Patrick’s life. 
  11. The city of Chicago has been dyeing the Chicago River Green since 1961.
  12. It’s believed that St. Patrick was enslaved by Irish raiders and was held captive for six years before escaping to England. 
  13. St. Patrick’s family is either of Celtic descent or Italian; they may have been Roman aristocracy. 

To get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit, there are a few must-haves for the holiday. 

What you need to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Green - You'll often find St. Patrick's Day fans proudly wearing green from head to toe. Yet another fun fact, blue was originally the color associated with St Patrick's Day. But over the years, green became the main color. 

Shamrocks - This plant is the symbol of Ireland and is an important part of Irish culture. 

Irish food - Hearty and delicious dishes include Corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, and Colecannon. 

Music - Common instruments used in Irish music include the fiddle and variations of woodwind instruments and bagpipes. Popular bands include The Dubliners, The Pogues, Celtic Woman, and The Chieftains.

Parades - St. Patrick’s day wouldn’t be complete without an entertaining parade filled with all of the above elements (and maybe a beer or two). 

Speaking of parades, there are many cities throughout the U.S. that put on a spectacular St. Patricks’s Day celebration. If you want to observe St. Patrick's Day in an eventful way, here's more on places to visit. 

Popular places to visit for St. Patrick’s Day

Chicago, IL

This city is known for dyeing the Chicago River green to kick off St. Patrick's Day. While many parades are held in multiple neighborhoods, most people flock to the heart of downtown Chicago to enjoy music, festivities and more.

Boston, MA

Irish roots run deep in Boston so it’s not surprising that St. Patrick’s Day is a memorable one in this city. The South Boston Parade has been a tradition since 1901. Spectators can dance along to the marching bands and say hello to the elected Mayor of Southie. Aside from the parade, there are plenty of other events throughout the week that make it a famous destination for St. Patrick’s Day.

New York City, New York

Held every year on March 17 (unless it falls on a Sunday), the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the largest in the world. With 150,000 people marching in the parade alone, onlookers can enjoy Irish dancers, music, and more. The parade is so popular, you can even buy official pins, apparel, and more to remember your experience.

If the above-mentioned cities are a little out of your price range, not to worry. In WalletHub's Best Cities for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations, there are several places that made the list that you might not have thought of. Here are three cities to consider when making St. Patrick's Day travel plans. 

Budget-friendly cities to visit for St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Tampa, FL
  3. Buffalo, NY

Are you or someone you know traveling for St. Patrick’s day? Save on hotels and flights with these gift card deals.

Airbnb Gift Card

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Southwest Gift Card

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Delta Gift Card

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Throw your own St. Patrick’s Day Party

Don’t feel like leaving the house this St. Patrick’s Day? That’s ok too! Throw your own St. Patrick’s Day party complete with the perfect playlist, tasty food, and festive decorations. 

Bring the luck of the Irish into your home when you shop at the following retailers. They have St. Patrick’s Day decorations, apparel, supplies, and more.

Walmart

Oriental Trading

Joann

Target

Wayfair

Amazon

Before you meet up with friends at the parade or begin to cook a full Irish breakfast, save money on what you need with a few gift card deals.

Walmart Gift Card

10% off

JOANN Gift Card

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Target Gift Card

18% off

Wayfair Gift Card

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