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St. Patrick's Day Costumes

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On St. Patrick's day, everyone can at least pretend to be a little bit Irish. And that's a good thing, because St. Patrick himself wasn't actually Irish! He spent most of his life there from the age of 16 onward, but he was born in a British outpost of the Roman empire. 

 

If St. Patrick wasn't Irish, what else do we think we know about him that isn't really true? Well, there's that legend about him banishing snakes from Ireland. It's true that there are no snake species native to Ireland. But, according to most naturalists, there never were any to begin with. 

 

Here's another St.-Patrick's-Day-related misconception--this one's about shamrocks and four-leaf clovers. Many people think they're the same thing, but they're not. Shamrocks are a type of clover, but they always and only have three leaves that are heart-shaped. According to legend St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to illustrate the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. Four-leaf clovers are a mutation that occurs about once in every 10,000 white or red clover plants. They are a symbol of good luck that dates to well before Patrick brought the message of Christianity to Ireland. 

 

So, even if you don't  have a drop of Irish blood, feel free to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.