I'm Irish :: Do I Have to Wear Green on St Patrick's Day?
Okay, so I'm a Redhead
This one is probably gonna run long, so bear with me. I was born bald, and being a girl, my mom dressed me in pink, so everyone would know I was a girl, until hair finally started to sprout when I was four.
I love my mother so don't get me wrong, pink was my favorite color until I was old enough to find out it clashed with my hair. Now my mother called my color strawberry blonde, which would give you the impression it's pink. Red plus white, is pink.
Red plus white is also orange, as my son pointed out when he drew a picture of me with green hair. I said "Seany, mommy's hair doesn't look green to you does it?" (worried he might be color blind)
Sean:still drawing does not look up, "No"
Me:"Then why did you make mommy's hair green? My hair is red."
Sean: "No, your hair is orange and I didn't have any orange! Your eyes are blue, so I had to use green."
So did my mother. My brother and I both had red hair, and our mom just wanted to use that to her best advantage. White and Blue, went with our "red hair" for patriotic holidays, and for Christmas (What goes better with red than green, you look like little Christmas trees!), and of course Saint Patrick's Day.
If you don't wear green you get pinched? Whose idea was this?
According to my Sources
According to one page it is school children who came up with the idea. Can this be true, and if so, when. This investigative reporter must find the root of the problem, as I have bruises in my history dating back to the day I refused to wear green anymore! It is an outrage that these pinches are called "affectionate" by Wikipedia. My search continues.
Okay after much searching, I find this quote on Answers.com
Pinching those not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day is an American tradition, having really nothing to do with Ireland or St. Patrick. It's thought that the pinching started in the early 1700s, about the time that awareness of St. Patrick's as a holiday came to the fore, too, in Boston, in the Massachusetts colony. They thought if you wore green, it made you invisible to the Leprechauns, which was good because they would pinch anyone they could see. So the pinching is to warn and remind you about the Leprechauns.
Still I am not satisfied with our traditions, I found this:
According to various sources, the color green is a celebration of "The Emerald Isle," Ireland's nickname given because its hills are so green, and it happens to be one of three colors on their flag. According to wikipedia.com, children usually sport green, white, and orange colors, which are all the colors on their flag.
However, according to Bridget Haggerty in National Geographic News, "in Ireland the color was long considered to be unlucky. Irish folklore holds that green is the favorite color of the good people (the proper name for faeries).
They are likely to steal people, especially children, who wear too much of the color."
Leprechauns, on the other hand, according to mythsofst.patricksday.com, are "grumpy, alcoholic, insufferable elves in the employ of Irish fairies." Even though they were considered shoemakers, they are remembered as having a pot of gold that they guarded like starving wolves.
According to blackdogsst.patricksdayhistory.com, the leprechaun has become Ireland's national fairy.
Well isn't This a Fine Kettle of Fish?
So, what my mother didn't know was that:
a) Green is unlucky.
b) I was in danger of being stolen away by fairies?
c) Saint Patrick wore Blue.
Saint Patrick wore What?
That's right folks, he wore blue. Do not get me wrong, I have come to terms with red, white, blue, orange, pink, and yes, even green. This portion will contain a bit about the Saint himself. It is well known he was not Irish at all.
Saint Patrick was, (by several accounts, including his own) A Briton and a Roman, born in Wales or Scotland, depending on whose interpretation of his letters you read.
He was led to Ireland and held captive as a slave. He claims to have found his faith there, and that he was led to return, to teach the Irish the Gospel. I like to believe it is because God's Messenger spoke to him there, in Ireland, that he was chosen to go back.
Before he could return he had to educate himself at the feet of others who are also named Saints. These, according to "The Lives of The Saints" by Rev. Alban Butler, tried to detain Patrick by telling him he was going into dangerous territory. These people were enemies of the Britons and the Romans, they did not know God.
Saint Patrick took these perplexities to the Lord in earnest Prayer. He persevered in his resolution, forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity, to serve strangers. He consecrated his soul to God, so he could carry His name to the ends of the earth. (paraphrased from The Lives of The Saints)
According to my sources on the internet, the Shamrock was used by Saint Patrick to explain the mystery of the Trinity, how could three beings be one? In my search, however, druids had similar "three as one" and so called "power of three" symbols. Wiccans also believe in this power as do mathematicians and masons.
Saint Patrick is attributed with driving the snakes out of Ireland, which had no snakes. In spite of claims these "snakes" are more rightly the Druids, I am more inclined to think it was Tyranny that Patrick was trying to drive out. His letters do not seem to speak of paganism so much as the "let my people go" of Moses.
In that I am sure many can readily supply themselves with much more history on this Saint, I leave this portion with this: Saint Patrick went against his family, his heritage and the human survival instinct, to preach to the Irish about his beliefs. Nowhere in the Bible do I see anyone going into Egypt to preach to the people who once enslaved them. Show me any escaped slave who would return to the land of his enemy, to bring enlightenment.
Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day
Today, in America we celebrate by wearing green, we are all Irish on Saint Patrick's Day. We eat Corned beef and Cabbage (although not traditionally an Irish dish. Bacon folks, it was bacon). We drink Green Beer! It is all good. We do not teach our children that St.Patrick probably did not believe in Leprechauns, or that he never got pinched for not wearing green. Sadly we do not even tell them it is not his birthday we are celebrating, but the day he died. Fitting I think, as he would probably have wanted it that way. He was supposedly 120 years old when he died, finally going home after fighting the good fight, to set his former captors free. Forever Free!
Don't forget to sing Oh Danny Boy
Don't Forget To Dance
Don't Forget Charlie Mops
Don't forget to Laugh
Happy Saint Patrick's Day
More about St Patrick
Excellent Sources on Irish History
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