If you are not wearing green on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, there is a huge possibility that someone will pinch you. However, if you are wearing anything blue, you can argue that the color is also meant for the special day.
Blue was originally the first color associated with Saint Patrick’s Day before the 17th century. According to the early depictions, Saint Patrick wore blue garments, and King Henry VIII used a gold Irish harp on a blue flag when he declared himself king of Ireland. The color changed when the shamrock became the national symbol of the country. Due to the popularity of the three-leafed plant and Ireland’s landscape, green replaced blue as the symbolic color for Saint Patrick’s Day.
People around the world celebrate the religious holiday in remembrance of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. However, Saint Patrick was not from Ireland; he was born in Great Britain and came to Ireland for work at 16 years old. While he was in the country, he became interested in Christianity and began to spread the words of Jesus Christ. Saint Patrick made a great impact on Ireland, converting many of the country’s residents to Christianity in the fifth century.
In today’s traditions, a reason why we wear green is to keep the pesky, little leprechauns away. The tiny creatures come from Irish folklore that says wearing green will make you invisible, which will protect you from their pinches. People also wear green for many other reasons. Some wear it to celebrate their Irish ancestry, and others wear it to match the Chicago River. Since 1962, the river in Illinois has been dyed each year to green with the help of 40 pounds of environmentally friendly orange powder. The process takes approximately 45 minutes and lasts for a few days.
Also on St. Patrick’s Day, many Irish-Americans gather together to eat corned beef and cabbage. The Irish were known for producing salted meats, but most of the products were created for trade. The salted meats were too expensive for the poor Irish, so they had to turn to ham. However, when the Irish came to America, they realized that corned beef was the cheapest meat they could get their hands on. So, the Irish immigrants chose corned beef as a substitute for pork and cabbage for potatoes. As of the 19th century, Irish-Americans eat the traditional dish yearly.
People also celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day by attending public parades and festivals. Irish soldiers in the British army in New York City celebrated the first Saint Patrick’s Day parade in 1766. Today, parades are held from state to state with participation from millions of citizens..
However you celebrate the holiday, let us hope it is your lucky day.
Holly Bae, Grade 9
La Canada High School