St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. It’s the time of year when families bake Irish Soda Bread and cook a dinner of corned beef and potatoes…and do it all with a green hue. Truly everything seems to be available in green – clothing, candy, cookies, milkshakes…and even beer.
So your child may be asking you why green is considered the lucky St. Patty’s day color and what the “holiday” means in general. Here’s your parent cheat sheet:
In reality, the actual color of St. Patrick is blue, which can be seen on ancient Irish flags. However in the 19th century, green became a symbol for Ireland due to its green landscape from copious amounts of rain and mist. This is where the country gets its nickname “The Emerald Isle.”
It is said that wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is paying tribute to Ireland, while also bringing people good luck. There’s actually a tradition in Ireland of pinching people who forget to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. Sounds familiar, right?
Two other theories for “why green” include:
- There is a popular phrase in Ireland, “The wearing of the green,” which means to wear a shamrock. St. Patrick used the three-leaved plant to explain the Trinity of the Christian religion.
- In Irish legends, green was worn by fairies and immortals, and also by people to encourage their crops to grow.
While there are cultural and religious symbols behind the holiday, for the most part it’s a holiday your kids can enjoy celebrating no matter if they’re Irish or not. To celebrate with your family, find a local St. Patty’s Day parade in your city, cook some Irish foods with your kids or put together some fun green outfits for the entire family. Maybe your family will get a little luck of the Irish on March 17, who knows?
This post was originally posted on 3/6/2012 on the now-defunct Mom’s Choice Matters blog.