Why Green? Why Shamrock? Why Pinching?

14 Mar

4 Leaf CloverThe Luck of the Irish?

St. Patrick

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, lived during the fifth century.  At the age of 16 he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland but escaped.  He later returned to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to its people.  Since the ninth or tenth century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast of St. Patrick on March 17, believed to be the day St. Patrick died. Fun fact… the first parade for St. Patrick’s Day was held in New York City by Irish immigrants. From then on we have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a slew of symbols and traditions.

Why Shamrock?

A four leaf clover is said to bring you luck but the three leaf clover, a shamrock, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland that symbolized the rebirth of spring. When the English began to seize Irish land many Irish began wearing the shamrock as a symbol of pride in their heritage. It is also believed that St. Patrick used to three leafs of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

Why Pinching?

There is always someone who forgets to wear their green on St. Patrick’s Day don’t let it be you! The tradition of pinching actually began in the United States. The pinching tradition is believed to have begun in the early 17th century. St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made you invisible to leprechauns. If a person did not wear green then the leprechaun would pinch them. People began pinching others as a reminder to wear green before a leprechaun would sneak up on them.


No, leprechauns have not always been known to be with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow in fact they were not even associated with St. Patrick’s Day until 1959. Before, leprechauns in Ireland were known for trickery, like pinching people not wearing greens. However in 1959, Walt Disney released a film called Darby O’Gill and the Little People, this film introduced America’s to the cheerful, friendly leprechaun which has rapidly evolved into an easily recognized symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.

Hope you have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Don’t forget to wear green!

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