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10 interesting facts about St. Patrick's Day

March 17 is St. Patrick's Day! For many kids, this is simply a day when you get to wear green clothes, drink green milk, eat green food (and maybe even search for leprechauns), but there's so much more to the holiday. Take this opportunity to incorporate a lesson about this Irish tradition into your curriculum for homeschooling by sharing these interesting facts with your child:

  1. Although St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, he was not actually born there. His parents were Roman, and Patrick was born in either present-day Scotland or Wales.
  2. Legend has it that St. Patrick drove snakes out of Ireland, but this is actually a metaphor: The snakes represent the people he converted to Christianity.
  3. Many people wear green to celebrate St. Patrick's day, but did you know that green is not the color commonly associated with St. Patrick? The saint's color is actually blue. Green didn't become linked to St. Patrick's Day until the Irish independence movement in the late 1700s.
  4. The first St. Patrick's Day parade wasn't held in Ireland, as you might expect, but in Boston.
  5. Many cities around the world throw large St. Patrick's Day celebrations. For example, Chicago dyes its river green each year, and New York City throws a massive parade on Fifth Avenue.
  6. St. Patrick's Day is a national holiday in Ireland.
  7. According to legend, wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns. That's a good thing, because (as the story goes) the little tricksters pinch people they can see.
  8. The world "leprechaun" is Gaelic, and is either derived from a word meaning "shoemaker" or "a type of aqueous sprite" - it's up for debate.
  9. Shamrocks are a symbol commonly associated with St. Patrick's Day, and those with four leaves are considered especially lucky. Why? It might have something to do with the fact that your chances of finding one are about 1 in 10,000.
  10. Many people invoke the phrase "Erin go braugh" on St. Patrick's Day. It's an Irish phrase that means "Ireland forever."

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