Skip to main content

By the numbers: St. Patrick's Day

By Amy Roberts, CNN Library
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but <a href='http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=89' target='_blank'>he was actually Scottish</a>. He was captured by raiders as a teen and was taken to Ireland, where he was enslaved for many years. He converted to Christianity during this time and had prophetic dreams about leaving and ultimately saving Ireland. After he was ordained a bishop, he preached the Gospel and converted Irish pagans for 40 years. But he didn't actually drive away snakes from the country, as legend has it. That's because<a href='http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/03/120316-saint-patricks-day-2012-march-17-facts-ireland-irish-nation/' target='_blank'> there were never any snakes in Ireland to begin with</a>. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but he was actually Scottish. He was captured by raiders as a teen and was taken to Ireland, where he was enslaved for many years. He converted to Christianity during this time and had prophetic dreams about leaving and ultimately saving Ireland. After he was ordained a bishop, he preached the Gospel and converted Irish pagans for 40 years. But he didn't actually drive away snakes from the country, as legend has it. That's because there were never any snakes in Ireland to begin with.
HIDE CAPTION
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
The traditions and culture of St. Patrick's Day
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Americans could spend nearly $5 billion celebrating St. Patrick's Day this year
  • With more than 34 million citizens of Irish ancestry, U.S. remembers Ireland in town names
  • How many Americans plan to celebrate St. Paddy's Day in a bar or restaurant? 30.5%

(CNN) -- When you suit up in green and head to the St. Patrick's Day parade or your favorite Irish bar to celebrate, dropping these facts and figures about the holiday's origins will impress your fellow revelers!

5: St. Patrick's Day began as a religious holiday to honor the saint who, in the fifth century, introduced Christianity to Ireland.

1762: The first St. Patrick's Day parade happened in New York on March 17, 1762.

133 million: People in the U.S. who plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in 2014.

83.2%: Percentage of those celebrating who plan to wear green.

$4.8 billion: Expected St. Patrick's Day spending in 2014.

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

30.5: Percent of Americans who plan to go to a bar or restaurant to celebrate.

2,900: Species of snakes. According to legend, St. Patrick drove all of the snakes from Ireland.

1 in 10,000: Occurrence of a white four-leaf clover for every common three-leaved clover.

40: Pounds of dye needed to turn the Chicago River green for the city's St. Patrick's Day parade.

7: Places in the U.S. named Shamrock.

16: Places in the U.S. named Dublin.

6: Movies in the original "Leprechaun" franchise. Jennifer Aniston had one of her first starring roles in the original "Leprechaun," released in 1993. A seventh movie, "Leprechaun: Origins," is planned for release this year.

4: Ireland's global rank in beer consumption per capita in 2011, with 101.1 liters.

15: The U.S. rank in beer consumption per capita, with 76.6 liters.

$19.99: Price of a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" T-shirt on Cafe Press.com

142: Rank in popularity in the U.S. of the baby name Patrick in 2012.

34.2 million: People in the U.S. with Irish ancestry, as of 2012.

530: Calories in a 12-ounce McDonald's limited-edition green Shamrock Shake. The large 22-ounce size has 820!

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
St. Patrick's Day
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)
When you suit up in green and head to the St. Patrick's Day parade or your favorite Irish bar to celebrate, dropping these facts and figures about the holiday's origins will impress your fellow revelers!
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
Kevin Kane's love affair with Ireland began in 2000, when he and his then-fiancee piggybacked on a trip with his brothers and their wives.
March 15, 2013 -- Updated 1530 GMT (2330 HKT)
If there's a top reason pubs are popular in Ireland, it's got to be the weather. Gray skies and chilly Atlantic mists have a way of driving you indoors to drink.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
Whether it be for the hopeful coming of spring -- or a certain holiday often associated with a celebratory tipple or two -- we present to you some of the most memorable drinking movies through the years.
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1920 GMT (0320 HKT)
Sometimes called the Rachael Ray of Ireland, chef Clodagh McKenna says her favorite memories of St. Patrick's Day come from her childhood home in Cork.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
My interest in the traditional Irish-American meal served in celebration of St. Patrick's Day began when I was a schoolgirl living on Elm Place in Nutley, New Jersey.
Cathal Armstrong leg of lamb
Just a hint: It's not corned beef and cabbage.
From the best beers to green eats to lucky dishes, celebrate the best culinary delights of St. Patrick's Day with Eatocracy.
whiskey
Not to insult Scotch or Bourbon, but Irish has a mellow sweetness that's awfully hard to resist—or it certainly seems that it's hard to resist, given we're drinking about two-thirds more of it than we were a mere five years ago.
March 15, 2013 -- Updated 2036 GMT (0436 HKT)
Click through our gallery to learn all the fun facts behind our St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
green drink
Consider the Shamrock Shake. It's green, it's creamy, you can get it during the month of March, and since McDonald's introduced the thing in 1970, they've sold more than 60 million of them. Here are some other green choices.
lucky tonkatsu
From traditional dishes like noodles that symbolize longevity to a simple ham sandwich, superstitious chefs share their picks for good fortune.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1520 GMT (2320 HKT)
Every year, we like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by indulging in some quintessentially Irish things, such as stout beer, strong whiskey and/or corned beef and cabbage.
ADVERTISEMENT