Is It St. Patty or St. Paddy? Chances Are, You’re Getting It Wrong

Take the original Irish spelling into account when abbreviating St. Patrick's Day.

Before diving into the spelling, here is some history of Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick died in the fifth century, and the first St. Patrick's Day celebration took place in the United States in the 18th century (actual dates are under debate). The famous Irish celebration of the nation's patron saint, commonly abbreviated to St. Patty's Day, is incorrect. So anyone who wants to celebrate the next St. Patrick's Day with memes or tweets may wish to check their spelling before they get pinched.

How to Abbreviate St. Patrick's Day

People of all nations and heritages use St. Patrick's Day as an excuse to celebrate, though the holiday is, at its roots, Irish. Patrick abbreviates as Patty in English, hence the popularity of the St. Patty's Day spelling.

But St. Patrick's Day is, again, Irish, and the name Patrick is an Anglicized one originating from the Gaelic Pádraig. English speakers commonly accept Patrick as a suitable replacement. Still, with the original Irish spelling taken into account, St. Patrick's Day should be abbreviated as St. Paddy's Day.

In an American accent, St. Patty and St. Paddy sound almost identical, so it's not the biggest deal if you verbally tell friends, fellow celebrators, and passersby a 'Happy St. Patrick's Day.' However, if you're planning to post, write a letter, purchase some St. Patrick's Day paraphernalia, or write the abbreviation, do yourself a favor, and stick to the St. Paddy's Day spelling.

In many ways, contemporary St. Patrick's Day celebrations have strayed far from their roots. The widespread, beer-induced chaos ensues in cities across the country on March 17, "Kiss Me I'm Irish" gear and leprechaun-everything decor are all popular ways of marking this holiday.

The spelling of St. Paddy's Day as St. Patty's Day is less of an evolution of the celebration and more of a straight-up misspelling. However you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate), the least you can do is spell the saint's name correctly.

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