According to a page I saw on the History Channel’s website, 83% of Americans wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day. Presumably, almost all of the other 17% get pinched. Just for the record, in this case I am in the majority. I am wearing my Irish socks and Irish earrings, which incidentally earn bonus points because I actually got them in Ireland. Also, I have painted my fingernails green, but that’s less significant because I used American fingernail polish.

The website also reports that 122 million Americans celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day even though only 34.7 million Americans reported their ancestry as Irish in the 2010 census. (The 2012 World Almanac is more specific; it says 34,670, in case you were wondering) That doesn’t surprise me at all, because until this generation, Saint Patrick’s Day was really more of an Irish American holiday than an Irish holiday. Saint Patrick’s Day parades were invented in Boston. (In 1737, although the exact year is only relevant if you’re a history nerd or a Jeopardy contestant) Until then, it was a religious holiday in the Roman Catholic Church, and not a particularly important one.

Here’s one more piece of Saint Patrick’s Day trivia: Saint Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat. Presumably, he started going by Patrick when someone pointed out to him that not many people would be likely to show up to see a Saint Maewyn Succat’s Day parade.

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