St. Patrick’s Day 101

Ready to get your green on? Don’t celebrate this Saturday without first brushing up on the basics about some popular Irish traditions. Here are a few fun St. Patrick’s Day facts to get you started.

The Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone (link) is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle in Ireland. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the gift of persuasive eloquence. But it’s a tricky feat—kissers have to lie on their backs and bend backward or downward, holding iron bars for support.

The Leprechaun

An Irish fairy, he looks like a small old man with a cocked hat and a leather apron. According to legend, leprechauns are aloof and unfriendly, live alone and make shoes. And they have a hidden pot of gold.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Each year, Americans enjoy a “traditional” Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage (link to recipe)—kind of. Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, the addition of corned beef is an American tradition. A traditional Irish meal may have included cabbage and potatoes with a few pieces of pork or bacon thrown in.

The Color Green

Wearing and dyeing things green is strictly American—in Ireland, the color green is considered unlucky. Every March, the Chicago River is dyed green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. This idea originally came about by accident when a group of plumbers used fluorescent dye in 1962 to trace illegal substances that were polluting the river.

A quick tip—if you’re heading out for a night of celebration on Saturday, stay safe. No matter where you are, you can dial 1-800-TAXICAB and a national taxi dispatch service will connect you to a local-area taxi company.