- St. Patrick was an important figure in Irish culture, but he was originally from Britain. He was kidnapped when he was 16 and taken to Ireland to be a slave. He escaped and went back to Britain, but later returned to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to its people.
- The celebration began as a religious holiday, the holy day for St. Patrick, who died on March 17, 461 AD. For over 1000 years, Irish families would attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lent restrictions were lifted for the day and people would dance, drink and feast on Irish bacon and cabbage.
- From 1903 to 1970, St. Patrick’s Day was declared a religious observance and became a dry holiday. All pubs were shut down for the day. In 1970, the law was reclassified as a national holiday and the beer could flow freely again.
- The Shamrock was a sacred plant because it symbolized the rebirth of spring, but by the 17th century it became a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. It is said that St. Patrick used the shamrock as a means of explaining the holy trinity.
- Originally, blue was the color of St. Patrick. Eventually green took over, thought to be because of Ireland’s nickname, “Emerald Isle,” the green in the Irish flag and the clover used in his teachings. Legend has it that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns that will pinch you if they see you.
- The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States. In 1762, Irish soldiers in the English military marched to music through New York City as a way to reconnect with their Irish roots and meet fellow Irishmen.
- Today, the holiday is used to drive tourism and showcase Irish culture. Approximately 1 million people take part in the St. Patrick’s festival in Dublin; a multi-day celebration with parades, concerts, theatre and fireworks.
Don’t rely on the luck of the Irish– be safe!
- Eat. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
- Drink water. If you are drinking alcohol, alternate with water to keep your body from dehydration and over intoxication.
- Look out for your friends. If someone has overdone it, help them get home and don’t let them continue to drink.
- DON’T DRIVE. If you don’t have a designated driver, hop on the bus or call a cab.
Service will be running until 2am. For routes and schedules go to http://www.streamlinebus.com/ or call 406.587.2434.
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