Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wherever you are in the world today, St. Patrick's Day celebrations won't be far away.

Everyone celebrates St. Patrick's Day with gusto, especially in the USA, so wherever you are, make sure you don your green and have a pint of Guinness (drunken responsabily of course).

Originally created as a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has become a celebration of the Irish.

One of the day's main events is the conclusion to the 6 Nations rugby with England Vs. Ireland at Twickenham, London, both battling for second place in the championship, but there are a number of other events going on around the world.

St Patrick's Day parades are being held all over Ireland and the UK as well as other cities such as Sydney in Australia, Monreal in Canada and New York in the USA. Half-a-million are expected to pack out Dublin alone.

While you might celebrate St. Patrick's Day, you might not know much about it's history or traditions. Not to fear. Here's some interesting factoids surrounding the event:

  • The Irish flag is green, white and orange. The green symbolizes the people of the south, and orange, the people of the north. White represents the peace that brings them together as a nation.
  • Thirty-four million Americans have Irish ancestry, according to the 2003 US Census. That’s almost nine times the population of Ireland, which has 4.1 million people.
  • The very first St. Patrick's Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in Boston in 1737.
  • The actual color of St. Patrick is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick's Day during the 19th century. Green, in Irish legends, was worn by fairies and immortals, and also by people to encourage their crops to grow.
  • Contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick actually wasn't Irish. It isn't known exactly where he was born, but most historians point to the southwest portion of Britain as his likely homeland. St. Patrick was actually kidnapped and brought to Ireland, where he was forced to work for many years.
  • Drinking a pint of Guinness is a tradition on St. Patrick's Day, but your doctor might approve as well. According to research, Guinness may help to lower the chance for blood clots and help lower heart attack risk (when consumed in moderation).
  • In Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps. Children wear orange, white and green badges, and women and girls wear green ribbons in their hair.

So, where are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day? And what are you doing for it?

Whatever you're doing, make sure you enjoy it! Happy St. Patrick's Day!