St. Patrick’s Day Myths Debunked

March 12th, 2014 by Katie Erbach Leave a reply »

Here at GiftZip, if there are two things we love they are holidays and being green with eco-friendly e-gift cards. Luckily, there’s a holiday all about green- St. Patrick’s Day! Contrary to popular belief though, this day isn’t all about leprechauns and green beer. We scoured the Internet to debunk some of the most pervasive myths about one of our favorite days of the year.

Myth 1: St. Patrick was Irish.

Well, not quite. Patrick was actually born in England, Scotland, or Wales (opinions vary) and was actually kidnapped by Irish raiders and held captive in Ireland according to traditional narrative. Once he escaped to England and pursued a religious path, however, he served as a missionary in Ireland. Now, he is a patron saint of Ireland, allowing the Irish a special claim to this special day.

Myth 2: St Patty’s festivities began in Ireland.

Even if St. Patrick wasn’t Irish, the parties are, right? Nope. St. Patrick’s day was originally celebrated in Ireland as one would expect any other religious Roman Catholic holiday to be celebrated, often with feasts, prayer, and family. In fact, parades and more public festivities didn’t begin until the 1700s when Irish immigrants to the U.S. began to organize parades and conventions on March 17th to show pride in their heritage.

Myth 3: Corned Beef and Cabbage is the perfect tribute to Ireland.

If you love corned beef and cabbage, more power to you, but there’s no reason to believe that the Irish have any particular affinity toward it. These days, the only food that the Irish tend to associate with St. Patrick’s day is a pint of Guinness.

Myth 4: St. Patrick drove the snakes from the Emerald Isle.

Sadly, this legend most likely has a far more natural cause. If the water surrounding the Emerald Isle isn’t enough to prevent snakes from slithering over, the icy water is probably a suitable deterrent. Some historians believe the legend serves as an allegory for St. Patrick’s work in the Catholic church to remove pagan influences from Ireland, a much more likely tale.

Myth 5: St. Patrick was identified by the color green.

Actually, knights in the Order of St. Patrick were identifiable by the color of blue that they wore. There are many theories as to how green became associated with St. Patrick. Some believe it was due to the shamrocks he used to explain the holy trinity (at least the shamrock part is true, right?) while others guess it traces back to the 18th century Irish independence movement, which was characterized by the color green.

If you plan to revel in the festivities with a shamrock shake and a steaming pile of corned beef, go right ahead! But always remember the true origins of the holiday as you celebrate. Wishing everyone a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day from GiftZip!

About Katie Erbach

Katie is GiftZip's newest team member. She currently lives in Chicago with her fiance, Jim. Katie's passions include blogging, hiking, reading (but nothing sad), listening to music, and baking anything with chocolate in it!

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