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Lady Luck®’s Look at St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Most people associate the holiday with three-leaf clovers and leprechauns, but can’t explain why the customs came about. Here’s some of the history behind seven favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions.
The little men guarding gold are actually cobblers by trade. They earned all that gold by making and mending shoes, so it’s fitting that they’re protective of their profits. You’ll also never see a lady leprechaun, they are all men according to Irish legend.
Wearing green wasn’t always the norm for St. Patrick’s Day. Blue was actually the first traditional color. St. Patrick, the namesake for the holiday, typically wore a light shade of blue according to art from that time period. It wasn’t until the Irish Independence movement during the late 1700s when green took center stage. Coupled with Ireland’s lush countryside, green is a fitting choice to represent the holiday. Now it’s even a tradition to pinch individuals not wearing green on March 17th.
3. Dry Holiday
Many people today celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with plenty of beer, but that wasn’t always the case. From 1903 to 1969, the holiday was strictly religious, meaning pubs were closed for the day. In 1970, Ireland dubbed St. Patrick’s Day a public holiday, allowing pubs to remain open. Since then, drinking has become so definitive on March 17, that an estimated 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day.
4. Three Leaf Clovers
St. Patrick used three-leaf clovers to symbolize Christianity’s Holy Trinity when he spread the religion to Ireland. Today many people consider the shamrock a symbol of good luck, with a four-leaf clover meaning exceptionally good luck. After all, the odds of finding a four-leafer are 1 in 10,000, you’re more likely to win Lady Luck’s $1,000 Lucky Leprechaun promotion!
5. Corned Beef and Cabbage
There’s no corn, nor has there ever been corn in the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal. The “corned” refers to the large, corn-kernel sized salt grains used to cure the meat.
6. Celebrations Across America
With 34.7 million Irish-Americans in the United States it’s fitting many cities hold St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Boston began the tradition in 1737 with the first American St. Patrick’s Day party. Since then, other cities created their own celebrations. New York City held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1762, when Irish soldiers marched through the city. Chicago designates a St. Patrick’s Day Parade Queen and goes to extremes by dying its river green. On the other end of the spectrum, Hot Springs, Arkansas boasts the shortest parade at only 98-feet long.
7. St. Patrick Is Not Who You Think He Is
Born in either Scotland or Wales, Maewyn Succat was kidnapped and forced into slavery at age 16. He worked in Ireland as a sheep herder until escaping back to England six years later. He spent the next 12 years in a monastery, changed his name to Patricius, and moved to Ireland around 432 AD to spread Christianity. March 17th is the anniversary of his death.
All in all, St. Patrick's Day is about celebrating luck, friendship, and having a great time. Even if you’re not Irish, you can’t help but feel festive and even a bit lucky with its many fun traditions. Start a new tradition at Lady Luck Caruthersville® with the $1,000 Lucky Leprechaun promotion. On Thursday, March 17 at 8 p.m., four winners will be chosen to win a share of $1,000!