The St. Patrick's Day History Quiz

Staff

St. Patrick's background was …

Patrick was actually born into Roman Britain.

When was Patrick alive?

Patrick was charming snakes (we'll get to that) in the late fourth and into the fifth century.

How did Patrick get to Ireland?

Patrick was captured by Irish pirates. Exciting stuff!

Patrick made a daring escape from slavery to what country?

Patrick studied in Gaul and was ordained a priest while there.

Why did Patrick return to Ireland to convert the natives?

Those pesky visions are always making saints do the hard stuff.

What color was associated with St. Patrick?

Originally, a sky blue color symbolized Patrick.

When did Patrick's color become green?

Green took over after the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Why was green adopted?

Ireland used the clover as a national symbol.

Patrick (supposedly) used a shamrock to explain what?

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all connected by a common stem.

What animal did St. Patrick drive out of Ireland?

Who needs snakes anyway?

Why was banishing snakes from Ireland a fairly easy task?

Yeah, there were no snakes in Ireland — like, ever.

But come on: Driving snakes from the land was a metaphor! For what?

Patrick wanted to get rid of the people he thought of as slithering heathen snakes — pagans.

Americans have long worn green on St. Paddy's Day. Why did the Irish originally find the color a bad outfit choice?

And those fairies steal children who wear green so watch your back.

Ireland has 4 million residents. How many Americans claim Irish heritage?

The U.S. is more Irish than Ireland?

What important St. Patrick symbol can be hard to find due to inclement growing conditions?

Bad weather and other factors lead to clover being hard to find.

How much Guinness is consumed on St. Patrick's Day?

While normally about 5 million pints are drunk, St. Patrick's Day more than doubles consumption to 13 million pints.

What Irish establishments were traditionally closed on St. Patrick's Day?

That's right, you couldn't get a drink in a bar on March 17, until 1961.

What does "Erin go bragh" mean?

It's used as an expression of nationalism and means "Ireland forever."

What was a traditional Irish St. Patrick's Day meal?

Corned beef became the traditional meal of Irish immigrants in the U.S., as brisket was less expensive than the hamlike bacon.

What kind of staff did Patrick carry?

He'd plant the walking stick in the ground while evangelizing.

What does the name of the British town Aspatria mean?

Patrick supposedly took so long to convert the people of Cumbria that his ash staff grew into a tree.

When was the first St. Patrick's Day parade held?

Beginning in 1762, the St. Patrick's Day parade has some pretty decent historical roots.

Where did the first parade take place?

That's right, Irish soldiers in the British army marched through New York.

What happens when St. Patrick's Day falls during Lent?

Many Catholics (and clergy) give St. Patrick's Day a dispensation as a feast day — meaning Lenten abstinence doesn't apply.

What city dyes its river green to celebrate St. Patrick?

The Chicago River is vibrant neon green every March 17.

What's in the dye?

Apparently the formula is top secret, which is totally not suspicious.

How much of the powder dye is dumped into the river?

The powder is orange but turns green in the water.

Why is St. Patrick's Day celebrated on March 17?

Patrick supposedly died on March 17, and people mourn him with copious amounts of Guinness every year.

When did Belfast, Northern Ireland, have its first St. Patrick's Day parade?

Because of the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the city didn't have a parade until late in the 20th century.

According to some sources, Patrick's given name was …

Some people say his given name was Maewyn. "Patrick" came from the Latin "Patricius."

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About This Quiz

Raise a toast to the most raucous holiday on the calendar. While St. Paddy's Day has a reputation for drunken debauchery, its origin and namesake aren't so silly. Test your Irish holiday knowledge by enjoying this quiz with a pint of Guinness.

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