St. Patrick’s Day: Common Misconceptions
Today is St. Patrick’s Day.
Here are some things you should know.
While a four-leaf clover may be lucky, it’s not a shamrock. Shamrocks have three leaves and are more common than their quad-leaved brethren. It’s said that St. Patrick used the three leaves of the shamrock to help explain the Christian Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. St. Patrick is often depicted as holding a cross in one hand and a bundle of shamrocks in the other.
St. Patrick didn’t drive the snakes out of Ireland, as told in legend. There have never been snakes there, but the idea of snakes were likely used as a metaphor for the druids.
St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the island of Montserrat. Montserrat is known as the “Emerald Island of the Caribbean” because it was founded by Irish settlers.
Corned beef and cabbage, an American tradition on St. Patrick’s Day isn’t an Irish tradition. While cattle have been raised in Ireland for centuries, most of the cattle farms were owned by British landlords who sold their product in Britain. The more common meat in traditional Irish cooking was pork. It’s thought that corned beef became associated with Irish-Americans because it was readily available from fellow immigrants who were Jewish.
Here’s a tip: Just call the holiday St. Patrick’s Day. If you must shorten it, it’s St. Paddy’s Day with D’s, not T’s.
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