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

St. Patrick’s Day 2021 is Wednesday, March 17—be sure you’re spelling your celebratory posts and messages correctly, or you might get pinched.

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 popular Irish celebration of the nation's patron saint is commonly abbreviated to St. Patty's Day—but this very common spelling is incorrect. With St. Patrick's Day 2021 coming up on Wednesday, March 17, anyone looking to celebrate with a few posts, texts, St. Patrick's Day memes, or tweets will probably want to check their spelling before they get pinched.

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Is it St. Patty or St. Paddy?

People of all nations and heritages use St. Patrick's Day as an excuse to celebrate, though the holiday is, at its roots, Irish. The name Patrick would be abbreviated 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. Patrick is commonly accepted as a fair replacement for English speakers, but with the original Irish spelling taken into account, St. Patrick's Day should really 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're verbally wishing friends, fellow celebrators, and passersby a Happy St. Patrick's Day. If you're planning to post, write a letter, purchase some St. Patrick's Day paraphernalia, or otherwise write the abbreviation, though, 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—see the widespread, beer-induced chaos that ensues in cities across the country on March 17, popular Kiss Me, I'm Irish gear, and leprechaun-everything—but spelling 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 at all), the least you can do is spell the saint's name correctly.

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