II's almost time to once again wish each other a Happy St. Patrick's Day.
As you prepare to don your finest green-hued clothes, you may know some of the most basic facts about this holiday's history, such as:
- St. Patrick's Day — also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick or the Day of the Festival of Patrick — is a cultural and religious holiday observed annually on March 17
- The day memorializes "the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland"
- As what has become a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history, "Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival"
But besides donning green, downing pints of Guinness, and feasting on corned beef and cabbage, what do you really know about this Irish holiday?
Here are seven fun facts about St. Patrick's Day trivia and history to share with your friends on March 17.
1. Did St. Patrick start leap year proposals?
We can't say for sure, but some say women can thank St. Patrick for the Irish tradition of "leap year proposals."
As explained on Irish Central, "Looking back through ancient Irish history, it is said that the tradition began in 5th century Ireland when St. Brigid of Kildare bitterly complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait far too long for men to propose. The legend says that St. Patrick decreed the women could propose on this one day in February during the leap year. I'm sure the women were thrilled.
Unfortunately, that doesn't mean guys outside of Ireland bought into the hype.
While it's been said the "tradition was then taken to Scotland by Irish monks," according to one study, "one-in-five Scotsmen (21 percent) would rather run a mile than say ‘yes’ if their girlfriend proposed on February 29."
2. Wedding bells are ringing
St. Patrick's Day is considered the luckiest day of the year to get married ... unless it falls on a Saturday.
According to this Irish proverb, Saturday is the worst day of the week to get married.
"Marry on Monday for wealth / Tuesday for health / Wednesday the best day of all / Thursday for losses / Friday for crosses / Saturday for no luck at all."
3. Oh, baby!
Recent statistics show that "658,952 boys in the United States have been named Patrick since 1880." Maybe their parents were inspired by their own St. Paddy's Day weddings!
The name means "noble" or "patrician."
4. Bottoms up!
As reported in UK newspaper The Telegraph, "On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness, the famous Irish stout brand, are consumed around the world. But on St. Patrick's Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints, said Beth Davies Ryan, global corporate-relations director of Guinness."
5. "Kiss me, I'm Irish!"
The Blarney Stone (Cloch na Blarnan) "is a block of Carboniferous limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney."
Because, ss legend has it, "kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab," it is reportedly kissed by up to 400,000 people a year, making us wonder if you're likely to catch more than just a new gift of eloquent speech from this Irish tourist attraction.
Besides, it's not an easily accomplished feat, as in order to get one's lips planted on the Blarney Stone, "the participant must ascend to the castle's peak, then lean over backwards on the parapet's edge."
6. Send your love
Mailing cards to loved ones isn't only a Valentines Day or Christmas tradition.
Hallmark began selling St. Patrick's Day-themed cards in the early 1920s, and the company reports that approximately 12 million Americans exchange them each year.
7. Day trip, anyone?
There are 13 towns in the United States named Shamrock (after the floral emblem of Ireland):
- Shamrock, Wisconsin
- Shamrock, West Virginia
- Shamrock, Virginia
- Shamrock, Texas
- Shamrock, Pennsylvania
- Shamrock, Oklahoma
- Shamrock, New York
- Shamrock, Missouri
- Shamrock, Louisiana
- Shamrock, Illinois
- Shamrock, Georgia
- Shamrock, Florida
- Shamrock, Colorado
Visiting any one of these Irish-inspired destinations would make for a great St. Paddy's Day date, don't you think?
Alexandra Churchill is a digital editor based in New York City who currently works for Martha Stewart Living. Her work has been featured on numerous sites including The Huffington Post, Her Campus, USA TODAY College, and Northshore and Ocean Home magazines.
Keywords: history, irish, st. patrick's day, st patrick's day, Holidays, facts, Irish traditions, Leap Year proposals, st. patricks day, fun facts, st paddy's day, saint patrick's day, entertainment and news