Celebrated annually on 17 March, St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the fifth Century Saint, who was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16, escaped, and later returned to Ireland to bring Christianity to its people. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. Today, people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef, cabbage…and lots of beer.
Early depictions of St. Patrick show him wearing blue. So why the obsession with everything green? One of the reasons green replaced blue was because of Ireland’s nickname, the Emerald Isle. The green stripe in the Irish flag also played a role. Traditionally, the green represents the Catholics of Ireland, the orange represents the Protestants, and the white in the middle symbolizes the peace between the two. The religious symbolism doesn’t stop there. St. Patrick is thought to have used green shamrocks to teach people about the Holy Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). Of course, we can’t talk about St. Patrick’s Day without including leprechauns. Back in the day, these mischievous little fairies were said to wear red and gold jackets with pointy red hats. Now they’re rarely seen in anything other than green, and, legend has it, they pinch anyone not wearing their favorite color.