How much do you really know about St. Patrick's Day, the ever-popular Irish holiday? We're willing to bet you a few drinks that you'll be surprised by a few of your favorite St. Patrick's Day traditions. In the spirit of luck, knowledge, and, of course, drinking, we've made a little drinking game: quiz your friends on the facts-and-myths and see who gets the most right in a round of True or False. If you get one right, you can take a sip. If you get one wrong, you have to chug a beer. Here’s hoping you’ve got the luck of the Irish on your side.
TRUE OR FALSE
1. Corned Beef and Cabbage isn’t Irish
While many Americans associate corned beef and cabbage with St. Patrick’s Day—and eat a lot of it—the dish doesn’t come from Ireland. It was invented in New York in the 1800s. In Ireland, families would traditionally eat Irish bacon. But pork was too expensive for Irish immigrant families in America, so they acquired corned beef from Jewish delis as a cheaper alternative.
2. The Shamrock Represents the Holy Trinity
There are several stories surrounding St. Patrick, one of them being that he brought Christianity to Ireland, although this may not be entirely true. The story goes that he used a shamrock, or a three leaf clover, to illustrate the holy trinity. To this day, the shamrock is associated with the religious symbol.
3. St. Patrick Was Irish
St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish. No one really knows in which part of Great Britain he was born, but at that time (4th century C.E.) Britain was part of the Roman Empire. Therefore, it remains unclear whether St. Patrick was actually of Celtic or Roman descent.
4. The First St. Patrick’s Day Parade was in Ireland in the 1700s
In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally a religious holiday. It wasn’t until the Irish began immigrating to America that it became an elaborate celebration. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York in 1762.
5. In Ireland, the Pubs Close for the Day
(Okay, this one's a freebie.) Because St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally a religious holiday in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, it used to be the law for pubs to close in observance. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the Irish were allowed to spend the holiday drinking Guinness.
6. Only Ireland and America Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Several countries around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, including Japan, Singapore, and Russia. In 2010, Australia bathed the Sydney Opera House in bright green light in honor of the holiday’s 200th anniversary.
7. St. Patrick’s Color Has Always Been Green
Green is the color undoubtedly associated with St. Patrick’s Day. But it used to be blue—yes, blue! Green was considered unlucky.
8. Guinness Sales Double
This one isn’t too hard to believe. On March 17th, Guinness sales double. While dedicated drinkers of the black stuff knock back about 5 million pints daily, that number goes up to over 10 million in honor of St. Patrick.
9. World Leaders Exchange Shamrocks
Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish president personally hands the U.S. president a glass bowl full of shamrocks. That’s a long way to travel for a centerpiece.
10. The Chicago River Turns Green
Every year, the city of Chicago pays homage to the Emerald Isle by dyeing the river green. While the plumbers union used to pour 100 pounds of dye into the water that would last a week, environmental concerns made them cut back to 40 pounds, which only tints the river a shamrock hue for about 5 hours.
Tally up your score at the end: if you got more than four wrong, you have to buy a round for the group. If you got less than four wrong, buy a shot for the person to your right. If you got exactly four wrong, do a dance on the table.
Craving more craic? Barcrawls.com is bringing St. Patrick's Day antics to your city so join a bar crawl near you to partake in the rowdy fun.