Photo: Courtesy of the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day committee
While St. Patrick’s Day evokes visions of parties and green beer for most of us, the holiday also has a serious side. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is credited with ministering to and converting thousands of Irish to Christianity. He was captured as a teenager by a group of Irish raiders and held for six years. During his captivity he wrote of having visions of God, which led him to the missionary. Legend has it that he also drove all of the snakes out of Ireland, but modern day research doesn’t confirm this. In his honor, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, the anniversary of his death. Other facts, by the numbers, include: 460 Year St. Patrick died. 16 Age at which St. Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders. 6 Number of years he worked as a shepherd while being held captive. 2 Number of visions St. Patrick is said to have had that led him to his missionary work. 200 Number of miles he walked to obtain his freedom. 15 Number of years he studied to become an ordained priest. 60 Number of churches and cathedrals in Ireland named for St. Patrick. 93 Percentage of the population of Ireland that is Catholic. 1737 Year of the first American celebration of St. Patrick’s Day (in Boston). 1762 Year of the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade, taking place not in Ireland but in New York City. 100 Number of American cities that now hold St. Patrick’s Day parades. 1962 First year Chicago River was dyed green. 40 Number of pounds of dye poured into the river to achieve the kelly green color. 3 Number of leaves found on the traditional shamrock. 4 Number of leaves needed for the clover to be considered lucky. 2 Feet, the average height of a leprechaun. 160 Degrees, the internal temperature needed to ensure corned beef is thoroughly cooked.
-- Nicole Caputo