“There are only two kinds of people in the world,” an Irish saying goes. “The Irish and those who wish they were.” With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, I must ask why do we wear green on March 17?
St. Patrick’s merrymakers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green.) People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers.
If you don’t believe in leprechauns the story of why we wear green on the holiday is a splendid story filled with intrigue, invaders and religious freedoms. According to TIME magazine, it all started with a flag. In the 17th century, the Protestant English Crown displaced catholic landowners. This did not sit well with the Bishops, who led a rebellion against the Brits to gain back their land rights. They carried a large green flag into battle as a symbol of the men from Kilkenny who charged ahead. Sadly they were defeated. The flag was thought to be green because of the rebellion was led by Catholic Bishops who were representing not only the sovereignty of their land, but who were also serving as protectors of their faith.
The patron saint of Ireland is St. Patrick, who was known to use the three-leaved shamrock as a means of representing the holy trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, according to CatholicHotdish.com. The vibrant green of the shamrock is still the preferred color used to celebrate the holiday and the shade that also decorates St. Patrick’s Cathedral and papal and priestly robes. Also, it’s just a really easy color to dye light beer. (Three drops green and one drop of blue for a pitcher of ale. You’re welcome.) Just a funny side note, Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish, according to Catholic.org he was born in Roman-ruled Britain in the fourth century and was captured as a child by Irish raiders who then brought him back to Ireland with them. So, why the 17th? Saint Patrick died on March 17, which is why we celebrate his holiday on that date.
Why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day in the United States if it’s an Irish holiday? Here’s the thing — because of the size of the Irish migration in the United States, we actually have about three times as many Irish people here than there are in Ireland, according to the Washington Post, and because we’re American, we made the holiday much more of a spectacle than it was traditionally in the home country. If there is a way we can incorporate costumes, a parade, and a huge amount of beer in a holiday, we’re going to do it. While the origins of green may go back to time when faith and a sense of justice caused men to settle scores on the battlefield, in the United States, wearing green on St Patrick’s day is similar to wearing a sports jersey or ugly Christmas sweater. It’s a fun, outward signal to others that you’re celebrating with them and encouraging them to celebrate with you. As for the green beer? Well, it’s just more fun that way.
Well I hope you have enjoyed your history lesson for today. If you just want a delicious traditional Irish meal and green beer just head on down to Elements located inside Win-River Resort & Casino this Saturday, March 17. We are serving an amazing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the Irish at heart. The Beer is green, cold and we won’t pinch you if you don’t wear your green. St.Patty’s Breakfast, lunch & Dinner Menus. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!
Sources: Romper.com Kat Bowen 2018 Mar 8, Time Magazine, Catholic.org and Catholichotdish.com