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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fun St. Patricks Day Facts To Ponder While You Swill Green Beer


 
From Denny:  Mardi Gras just happened last month, and, well, Lent can be a dull affair while we are waiting for Easter.  So, why not spice it up with some St. Patrick's Day frivolity and celebration?

South Louisiana is primarily Catholic and we like our champion demon-chasing warrior saints. Honoring him is serious business.

Here in Louisiana we celebrate with none other than a St. Patrick's Day Parade, complete with official bead-throwing and green beer freely flowing.

Since all good holy days have a serious component along with the feasting here's some brain food to feed you too.  Be sure to check out my other St. Patrick's Day posts at the end of this post.  Lots of interesting historical trivia, quotes, poems, Irish blessings and funny thoughts too.

Some fun facts to ponder while you celebrate the holiday and swill crazy green beer:

1 - St. Patrick's Day is a popular holiday around the world besides in the Republic of Ireland, in Northern Ireland and Louisiana.  In Canada, the folks in Newfoundland and Labrador like to hang from the chandeliers with the rest of us.  I hear the special day is also celebrated in the West Indies in Montserrat.  Cool.

2 - St. Patrick's Day is THE most popular SAINT'S day celebrated around the world.  It could have something to do with the swinging plaid skirts, loud bagpipes, Celtic drums and green beer.  Or, think of it this way, he is THE most widely celebrated exorcist.  So, when are they going to make a horror movie to honor him anyway?

The churches who honor this saint are the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church.

3 - Did you know that green was not always the official color to honor the holiday?  Yes, it was originally blue.  Well, how did it change over to green?  Turns out there was this little situation called the 1798 Irish Rebellion.  During that time, in order to make a political statement, Irish soldiers decided to wear all green uniforms and the color stuck.

4 - St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated for centuries, literally.  This saint has staying power for 12 centuries.  The saint's feast day was celebrated by the Irish in the ninth and tenth centuries.

5 - Who else do you know that has been honored with his very own holy day for six centuries?  Back in the 1600's St. Patrick got the luck of the draw and was officially entered onto the church calender of holy days thanks to Waterford Franciscan Luke Wadding.

6 - How many times has St. Patrick's Day occurred in Holy Week?  The holiday does not appear too many times during Holy Week.  It appeared in 1940 and 2008 and will not occur again until 2160.  Let's hope they still make Guinness beer a century from now.  Start praying to St. Patrick for that miracle.





7 - What city hosts the largest parade in America?  That's a toss up between New York City and Boston.  Good luck on sorting out the blarney bragging rights from those two camps, though it's New York City that is supposed to be the winner.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, which city hosts the largest St. Patrick's Day parade in England?  Is it London?  Nope.  Turns out it's Birmingham with over a two mile parade route.  Organizers for Birmingham say this is the third largest parade outside of Dublin, Ireland and New York City, United States.

8 - What do you know about Canada, hockey and the wearing of the green?  Canada and hockey go together like America and football.  In the National Hockey League the Toronto Maple Leafs were once known as the Toronto St. Patrick's from 1919 to 1927 when they wore green jerseys.  Fast forward a few decades to 1999 when the team was featured in a nationally televised game on St. Patrick's night.  You guessed it; they returned to the wearing of the green!

9 - Wow!  Where is the coldest place in the northern hemisphere that St. Patrick's Day is celebrated?  Try Nome, Alaska.  They celebrate with a parade and a golf tournament.  It does make you wonder if they play golf on the tundra or glacial ice.  Any way you look at it, those green plaid kilts will be swinging on ice blue legs when they tee off.

10 - Where is the quirkiest and shortest St. Patrick's Day parade?  Back in the 1940's Bridge Street in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was named the shortest street in the world.  Of course, that's where they also hold the St. Patrick's Day parade, now known as the shortest parade.  Smithsonian Magazine back in 2009 declared the Hot Springs Arkansas Bridge Street parade as the "Quirkiest St. Patrick's Day Parade on Earth."


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