Exploring International Traditions: Saint Patrick’s Day

One of the liveliest holidays of the year is just around the corner. It's big, it's green and it has everyone rediscovering their Irish roots for the day. That's right, it's Saint Patrick's Day!

With March 17th approaching fast, now is the time to buy a fabulous green frock (or accessory) and prepare for a saint's holiday that stands out above the rest – for reasons unrelated to the drinking aspect of the holiday, we're sure.

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Of course, your celebrations may see you learning some things about Ireland and Saint Patrick's Day that leave you scratching your head. Is Guinness really the obligatory drink of the day? Why on earth is it black? Is it better to have a four or three leaf clover? Are leprechauns all ginger, or is that just a nasty stereotype?

If you have ever wondered where some of the more… interesting Saint Paddy's traditions came from. Well, wonder no longer!

The Dark Depths of Guinness

Ireland is known for many things, but one of its most popular exports – other than Cillian Murphy – is the invigorating beverage known as Guinness. Thick, enough calories to substitute a meal with and something you either love or suffer through half a pint of every Paddy's Day to 'honor' your Irish heritage.

Either way, you have probably wondered, more than once, why exactly this beer is so starkly different in color from the rest of the beer shelf. Did it go through a goth phase in its teen years that it just never grew out of? Well no, it's all down to the brewing process. Malted barley, sugars, amino acids, and grains are roasted together in an intense heating process which produces this darker color. Which, by the way, the company insists is a dark ruby and not, in fact, black.

Not so fun fact: Guinness is not vegetarian. So, for all your veggies and vegans out there this coming Paddy's day – avoid at all costs! Traces of fish bladders are used to help remove unwanted particles from the final product…. The more you know!

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Snakes…

There are no snakes in Ireland. Apparently, this is because St Patrick banished these beasts for all time presumably they all went on to star in the classic Snakes on a Plane; a great way to both make money for their now homeless snake children and get out of Ireland without having to swim. Well, that's the version of the myth we here at Compare and Fly prescribe to.

The more mundane myth (read: less fun) states that Patrick did so as a symbolic purging of evil, as snakes have for many centuries been a symbol of evil thanks to the trickster snake in the story of Adam and Eve. He drove them to the sea and, apparently, they were never to be seen again.

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The reality? They never actually existed in Ireland in the first place, in a strange twist of mother nature. So, go on a trip to Ireland and be safe in the knowledge that there will be no snakes in your boots!

Do you want to book a getaway in time for St Patrick's day? Then check out some of these flights, you'll be drinking Guinness and wondering if you actually like it in no time!