Tuesday is March 17th; you know what that means, right? Or, like me, you may not. Unless you are Irish or claim the Irish culture, perhaps St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays on the calendar that comes and goes without a second glance. However, this year let’s be challenged to not only take a glance, but to celebrate.
Where Did This Holiday Come From?
It is fairly crucial to have some basic understanding of the holiday before diving into the festivities. I must confess that I am not personally a historian, but through some intensive google searching, I found more than I thought I wanted to know about this particular holiday. Lucky for you, pun intended, I am willing to share my newfound knowledge. The holiday falls on the day that “St. Patrick” is thought to have died. Originally, it was intended to celebrate his contributions in helping to Christianize Ireland. Surprisingly, St. Patrick was neither a saint nor a Patrick. The Catholic Church never officially embraced him as a saint, but he did take on the name Patricius, though he was born Maewyn Succat. As the Irish immigrated to America during the 18th century, the holiday was celebrated to commemorate Irish culture among the Irish community. Then as time went on, the holiday grew bigger and bigger.
Bust Out Your Green Because?
Surely you are aware of the tradition that those who choose not to wear green on March 17th are subjected to exposing themselves to receive a pinch. Perhaps this has never affected your life. In that case, you are missing out, because a free day to pinch a sibling or friend can be quite fun. But still the question lingers: why green at all? Apparently during the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the British chose to wear only red and the Irish chose green. The Irish civilians also wore green in support of the rebellion. After the rebellion, the Irish claimed green as a symbol of pride. Ireland, due to its bountiful green landscape is also known as the “Emerald Isle,” which certainly adds to the cementation of Ireland’s claim on green. So of course on the day celebrating all things Irish, the countries claimed color is paraded to the extreme.
The Power Behind the Pinch
The most logical answer I found was that the pinch represents and encourages a boldness in Irish culture. However, what fun is logic? Instead there is also a mythological reasoning behind the mischievous tradition. A one-word summary: leprechauns. As legend goes, the little devils are notorious for pinching those who refuse to wear green. Wearing green provides one an invisibility cloak from their eyes. Now, everyone is welcome to take on the role of the leprechaun in order to carry out their job.
Now that you are caught up on all things St. Patrick’s Day, feel free to share your new-found knowledge with all your friends. Or, keep it to yourself and embrace the mischievous nature of a leprechaun.