The greenest day of the year, when everyone and their dog becomes Irish, St Patrick’s Day is fast approaching on 17 March. Millions will be partying around the world resplendent in green, many with pints of Guinness in hand, but what about the day itself; who is St Patrick and how did he inspire such a day of wild celebration?

St Patrick WAS a real person

Born around 385 AD, St Patrick was more than likely not even born in Ireland, but England! He was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland in his teens, later escaping back to his homeland, before returning to Ireland as a Christian priest in the mid-fifth century. He spent the next 30 years establishing schools, churches and monasteries across the country. Later he succeeded the first bishop of Ireland, before passing on 17 March 461.

Patrick is one of Ireland’s three patron saints

Most associate St Patrick with Ireland, but the nation actually has two other patron saints. St Bridget’s feast day is remembered on 1 February, while St Columba’s day is celebrated on 9 June. St Patrick is actually the patron saint for another nation too, Nigeria bizarrely enough! Although the nation doesn’t celebrate 17 March as a national holiday, as both the Republic and Northern Ireland both do.

Biggest celebrations in the world

While Dublin is pretty much seen as the go-to party venue to celebrate Paddy’s Day, there are plenty of huge celebrations well-attended around the world. Chicago famously dyes its city’s river a vibrant green, while Sydney hosts a legendary party and London also hops onto the Guinness bandwagon.

How are you going to celebrate on 17 March? Let us know at our Twitter @HeatHolderSocks