St. Patrick’s Day: A Little Bit of History Behind All That Green


Shamrock” by Andy Doyle CC2.0

St. Paddy’s Day is just around the corner…do you have your green ready? Which got us thinking…why green? Why do you get pinched if you’re not wearing green? Just what exactly is the story behind all of this? Get ready for a history lesson! 🙂

St. Patrick’s Day honors—you guessed it—Saint Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland in 432 AD and also with driving all of the snakes out of the country. (Ironically, Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish—he was born to Roman parents in either Scotland or Wales. And his given name was actually Maewyn Succat, but he changed it to Patricius after he became a priest. Thank goodness.)

So what’s the deal with all of the green? The color blue was originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but because Ireland’s nickname is “The Emerald Isle,” green slowly took over. Green may also have become the color of choice because Saint Patrick used shamrocks—which are very green–as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity. But why do you get pinched if you’re not wearing green? According to the Christian Science Monitor, this is an entirely American tradition that probably began in the early 1700s. People believed that wearing green supposedly made you invisible to leprechauns, who will pinch anyone they can see—and they certainly can’t pinch you if they can’t see you! Therefore, we pinch people who aren’t wearing green as a subtle reminder that leprechauns probably aren’t far behind.

Speaking of leprechauns…according to legend, they are a type of sneaky, sometimes mischievous fairy who make their living as shoemakers. They work hard for the money—so it’s no wonder they want to keep their pots of gold safe! Also, according to traditional Irish folk tales, there aren’t any girl leprechauns. Sorry guys. 😉

There you have it—just a little history behind the day. Now go get yourself some corned beef and cabbage, put on a green shirt and be on the lookout for leprechauns! Erin go bragh!

P.S. Speaking of green…want to stay in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit all year long? Buy one of our green lockers! That’ll ensure that none of those sneaky leprechauns try to set up camp in your house. 😉