Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait to get home and dig into some corned beef and cabbage and then maybe wash it down with some green beer. But how much do you really know about this most Irish of holidays? Read on and learn!

1. Saint Patrick was born in Britain, then under Roman rule, in or around the 4th century. After being kidnapped by raiders from Ireland, he converted to Christianity and after a vision in which God spoke to him, devoted his life to converting the Irish people to it as well. He died on March 17th, in the year 461 AD, which thenceforth became St. Patrick’s Day.

3. St. Patrick was known, according to legend, for teaching the concept of the Holy Trinity using the three leaves of the shamrock. Thus the shamrock has become inextricably associated with the holiday.

4. Another legend associated with St. Patrick is that he rid Ireland of all of its snakes. The story goes that during a 40 day fast, he was attacked by a snake, after which he chased all of Ireland’s snakes into the ocean. There is, however, no evidence that any species of snake ever existed in Ireland, so this is almost certainly only a legend with no basis in fact.

5. Contrary to popular belief, corned beef and cabbage is NOT a traditional Irish meal. The tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day came about in the late 18th century, when the first generation of Irish-Americans, longing for a taste of home where boiled bacon would be served, were forced to settle for beef brisket which was much cheaper. After it was brined and seasoned, it became similar to the corned beef that we know today.

6. Although originally associated with the color blue, it’s believed that green became the dominant color of St. Patrick’s Day because of Ireland’s being known colloquially as the Emerald Isle. It’s also believed that wearing green clothing renders the wearer invisible to leprechauns who are fond of pinching people.

7. Another St. Patrick’s Day tradition is that of dyeing beer green. This seems to have gotten its start in New York, around 1914. During a St Patrick’s Day celebration at a social club in the city, a man known as Dr. Curtin put a drop of blue dye into a beer, turning it green in honor of Ireland’s aforementioned nickname, the Emerald Isle. It caught on and has since become a time-honored tradition.

So there you have it folks, a little bit of St. Patrick’s Day history for you. From all of us here at iWin.com we hope you have a fantastic St Paddy’s Day and if you do partake in some green beer, you don’t overindulge and regret it tomorrow!

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