Happy St. Paddy's Day

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by the Irish and Irish at heart with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, and Irish food and drink. It's also an indication that spring is on its way. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is credited with bringing Christianity to the people. Although he is most known for driving snakes from Ireland, there probably never have been any snakes there - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. Did you know that since the Gaelic word for Patrick is "Pádraig" the official nickname for St. Patrick's Day is really "St. Paddy's Day", not "St. Patty's Day"?


An estimated 122 million Americans plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year with parties or celebrations, according to National Retail Federation (NRF)'s 2011 St. Patrick's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey. In fact, 52.4 percent will celebrate the Irish holiday, up from 45.2 percent last year and the most in the survey's eight-year history. 


While more people will celebrate, the average amount they plan on spending will be close to what it was last year ($33.97 vs. $33.05 in 2010), according to the survey of more than 8,000 adults, conducted by BIG Research. St. Patrick's Day spending totaled $3.44 billion in 2010 and is expected to reach $4.14 billion this year. The increase in total celebrants accounts for the 20 percent jump in total dollars spent, reports Media Post Communications.


Nearly 102 million people (83.3 percent) will wear green for the holiday. Restaurants and bars will support the holiday spirit as well, hosting parties and serving green beverages: 38 million Americans (31.2 percent) will attend a party at a bar or restaurant, the highest in the survey's history; 41 million (33.9 percent) will make a special dinner; 31 million (25.1 percent) will decorate their home or office; and 23 million (19.1 percent) will attend a private party.


Iconosys, which develops mobile applications for smartphones, can help too. It offers two free St. Patrick's Day apps. Shamrock Countdown auto-sends a St. Patty's Day morning and afternoon "Luck of the Irish" greeting to friends in your phone's contacts list. And Photo with Lucky lets you take pictures with "Lucky the Leprechaun," then share them via Facebook, Twitter, and email. 


And for those of you who plan to celebrate at home, here are some traditional recipes. http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/favorite-st-patricks-day-recipes/pictures/index.html?nl=FN_031411_FeatureLink1