St. Patrick’s Day: Common Misconceptions

The Chicago River dyed green for Saint Patrick’s Day.
(Image by Knowledge Seeker via Wikimedia Commons)

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.

Our question: Why doesn’t the dye used to turn the Chicago River green up in Lake Michigan?

Today is Children’s Day in Bangladesh.

It’s unofficially National Preschool Teachers Appreciation Day, World Sleep Day, and Campfire Girls Day.

It’s the birthday of musician Nat King Cole, who was born in 1919; musician Billy Corgan, who is 50; and soccer player Mia Hamm, who is 45.

Because our topic doesn’t have a specific year associated with it, we’ll pick a year at random.

This week in 1964, the top song in the U.S. was “She Loves You” by The Beatles.

The No. 1 movie was “Kissing’ Cousins,” while the novel “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John Le Carre topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.




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