Leprechauns, Guinness and the Irish Flag

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: Saturday, March 17

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! On March 17, people everywhere, – Irish, or not – will celebrate with green drinks, Irish jigging, and parades!

St Patrick’s Day parade participants and their dogs in downtown Toronto. Source: CBC News – Trevor Dunn

What is St. Patrick’s Day and why is it important?
Also known as St. Paddy’s Day, this day is important because it marks the anniversary of the death of a Christian missionary named Patrick. He was born in 387, and died on March 17, 461. The day is celebrated in Ireland, and by all of the more than 70 million people of Irish descent around the world. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday and, for our friends in Newfoundland and Labrador, it is also an official holiday. In 1824, Irish Immigrants founded a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Montreal; today, it’s the longest-running parade in North America.

If you’re celebrating the day, you better wear green!
Green is one of the colours in Ireland’s tri-colour flag, which was first publicly flown in 1848 in the city of Waterford, by an Irish-American patriot named Thomas Francis Meagher. Ireland is known as the “Emerald Isle,” and green is symbolic of Ireland’s lush green landscapes.

Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is a modern-day tradition, for those who wish to be invisible to leprechauns (to avoid being pinched by them). Some humans pinch others, too (for not wearing green), but only as friendly reminders to stay away from “pinch-happy” leprechauns!

Image source: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Five Fun Facts about St. Paddy’s Day

1. It’s a Guinness Day!
During St. Patrick’s Day, the amount of Guinness consumed around the world reaches almost triple the usual amount! On a regular day, 5 million pints are poured, which jumps to 13 million pints, on March 17. Quick math tells us that’s an astonishing 150 pints per second!

2. There are No Girl Leprechauns!
If you’ve ever seen St. Paddy’s Day decorations showing female leprechauns, don’t get sucked in to the lies! According to Irish folklore, there is no such thing as girl leprechauns! Who knew?

3. Who is Maewyn the Brit?
St. Patrick was actually born in Britain and given the name Maewyn Succat. Don’t worry, we’re surprised, too! According to history, he was sold into slavery in Ireland as a teen. He escaped, returning to England. There, he became an ordained priest named Patrick.

4. Shamrocks are Everywhere!
Why do we think of shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day? Hint: It’s not about minty, green milkshakes! It is said that St. Patrick used the three leaves to symbolize the Holy Trinity when he introduced Christianity to the people of Ireland.

5. St. Patrick Himself Would Have Gotten Pinched!
St. Patrick would have been pinched plenty of times on his own feast day, because his preferred colour was blue. In fact, green only came to be commonly accepted as the colour of St. Patrick in the late 18th century, after it was associated with the Irish independence movement.

Image source: Steam Whistle Brewing’s Facebook page

Find a Celebration Near You!

There are so many events going on across Canada, and we found a few to share. So don’t be a big eejit! Follow the links, get out there, have a green drink and learn an Irish jig!

St. Patrick’s Day Blarney Stone Pub Kick-off
Saturday, March 10, 2018
10 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
The Blarney Stone in Gastown
Enjoy live music by The Shenanigans and DJ Zeus. Don’t miss the balloon drop at midnight!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Toronto
Sunday, March 11, 2018
12 noon
Starting at Bloor and St. George
This 30th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is sure to be a blast, hosted by the St. Patrick’s Parade Society.

St. Patrick’s Day Road Race – Calgary
Sunday, March 11, 2018
9:00 a.m.
Central Memorial High School
Calgary’s Original St. Patrick’s Day Road Race supports The Canadian Diabetes Association and The Calgary Road Runners.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Montreal
Sunday, March 18, 2018
12 noon
Starting at Ste- Catherine and du Fort
Be a part of the 195th St. Patrick’s Day parade, the oldest St, Paddy’s Day Parade in North America.

Quebec City
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Le Défilé – Quebec City
Saturday, March 24, 2018
12 noon
St. Patrick’s High School
Join the fun as Quebeckers and Irish celebrate their strong ties, dating back to the early 19th century when hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants first came to Québec.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade – Winnipeg
Sunday, March 18, 2018
2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Irish Association of Manitoba
Join in on the festivities and live entertainment, including the gloriously green 7th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Where to Get Your Irish Flags?
We’re so glad you asked! All of our Flag Shop locations across Canada carry Ireland flags, in all sizes! We also have crests, lapel pins, and decals. We are here to help you celebrate all things Irish! Be sure to tell us if you need a specific item, because you might be surprised to see what we can dig up in our warehouse.

We leave you with the words of an old Irish proverb: “If you’re enough lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough!”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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