introsPECtives



Going Green

March has become associated with St. Patrick’s Day and the “wearing of the green”. As a child I wouldn’t be caught dead at school without some color of green showing to avoid those awful, hurtful pinches. As an adult, I still proudly wear a bit o’ the green to proclaim my Irish heritage rather than to avoid a pinch or two. However, it wasn’t until recently that I felt curious about the history behind some of the things that have become so well associated with St. Patrick’s Day.

I discovered some very interesting things. Let’s start with the man the day was named for – Saint Patrick. I was rather surprised to discover that Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was actually Scottish. Oh, and don’t make the mistake of combining the Scottish and Irish into the same category. You’d get backlash from either side. Anyway, the long and the short story of Saint Patrick is that he was once Scottish, sold into Irish slavery and later became a Priest.

Next, let’s look at the color green. I mean, after all, green is the signature color of St. Patrick’s Day so that color choice had to stem from somewhere right? same category. You’d get backlash from either side. Anyway, the long and the short story of Saint Patrick is that he was once Scottish, sold into Irish slavery and later became a Priest.

Wrong again, the color that was originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day was Blue. Yes, you heard me right. It was Blue to represent their blue military uniforms. Green is actually considered unlucky in Ireland.

What about those cute little leprechaun’s that are the keepers of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? They are a perfect representative for the Irish aren’t they? Actually, in Irish folklore they are known to be grumpy, tricky and very untrustworthy. That certainly doesn’t sound like something I would want to be associated with.

Finally, let talk about the Shamrock. It is the symbol of the Irish, the symbol of St. Patrick’s Day and of course it is the pre-requisite vibrant green color. What I found out about the shamrock was a couple of varying things. Some say that the shamrock was selected by St. Patrick as a symbol to teach the Irish about the holy trinity as a true shamrock actually only has three leafs. The rumor is that if you find one with a fourth leaf it is a reminder of God’s mercy. Then there is the theory that the shamrock or four-leaf clover actually represents faith, love, hope and luck.

Whether you care about the history of the Irish or not St. Patrick’s Day has become a worldwide celebration that millions of people recognize. Some cities hold parades, other cities actually die their waterways with green vegetable food dye but if you are like most people you make a dinner of cabbage and corned beef and then head to the local pub for a glass of green beer.  Any way you celebrate it – here’s hoping that the luck o’ the Irish stays with you throughout the year.

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