Stereotypes abound as we associate St. Patrick's Day with lots of beer and green clothes. Truth be told, theres a bit more about the holiday to share with your friends and family than green beer, though the mainstays of tradition should not be ignored.
Consider these myths debunked:
Corned beef is not a traditional meal in Ireland. This food was thought to be brought by the English and corned beef was largely provided as a canned food during the wars. It is still sold as a canned food product. (Wikipedia)
The St. Patrick's Day celebrations we partake in are an American creation that were started by Irish-American immigrants as a way to reconnect with their Irish roots. Ireland didn't much acknowledge the event as anything other than a minor religious holiday until the 1970's. (National Geographic News)
Considering that the daily intake of Guinness around the world jumps from 5.5 million pints to 13 million on St. Patrick's Day, its no wonder that because of the global fan-fare, Ireland embraced the annual holiday as a way to boost tourism revenue. (National Geographic News)
Green was once a color considered unlucky by the Irish. It was considered the favored color of leprechauns who were known as grumpy, mean and alcoholic. Children wearing too much green were feared to be stolen away by them. (Discover Ireland)
Although the famed St. Patrick was credited for driving the snakes out of Ireland in a symbolic depiction of ending pagan practices, it is known that Ireland never had snakes to begin with. (Discover Ireland)
No one can determine a persons ancestry Scottish from Irish based on their last name: Mc or Mac. Mac is the Gaelic term for son with Mc simply a shorthand version. Both name signifiers are found in Irish as well as Scottish societies. Further, adding an O to someone's name was a Gaelic designator for grandson. The apostrophe behind the O was added by British as they assumed it was a description "of." (History News Network)
For more on the history and tradition, read .
Myths and stereotypes aside, it's fun to be Irish for a day and learn about the traditions of this vastly storied and historic culture. How and where do you plan to celebrate?