The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

The true meaning behind leprechauns and wearing green

Last year on St. Patrick’s Day, my roommates and I went to an Irish pub in New York City.

We had a great time drinking, but all those green shots added up. When our bill came it was somewhere around $400.

Every year, St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a holiday that doesn’t require any presents, just some good old-fashioned fun with friends. But just like most holidays we celebrate in the United States, the commercialization has outlived the meaning.

Most Americans are unaware of what St. Patrick’s Day is actually celebrated for. Rather we take advantage of a reason to wear green, pinch those people who are not, and get drunk.

Like many holidays, St. Patrick’s Day has religious roots.

A man by the name of Maewyn Succat was born in either Scotland or Wales, but as a teenager was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to become a slave.

Once Succat escaped he went to France and entered the monastery. While studying to become a priest, Succat changed his name to Patrick, which in Latin means “father of his people.”

Patrick eventually returned to Ireland because he wanted to spread the word of God, and save the citizens of the nation.

Upon the death of Patrick on March 17, 461 A.D., almost all of Ireland was Christian.

The celebration in Ireland for St. Patrick is a religious holiday similar to Christmas and Easter. Like the Christmas tree and the Easter bunny, St. Patrick’s Day also has its fair share of icons. Among some of the things we associate with the holiday are:

The Concept of

Wearing Green

Even though Ireland has a connection to green through its old flag, the connection doesn’t go much farther than that. Wearing green is more of a U.S. custom and the color is said to not be very popular in Ireland. Some even consider it an unlucky color. School kids then invented the tradition of pinching those who were not wearing green.

Leprechauns, Gold, and a Rainbow

to Follow

Catching a leprechaun is good luck. If one catches the make-believe fairy, it is said that the leprechaun must tell where he hides his pot of gold. A leprechaun is part of Irish folklore, not just St. Patrick’s Day.

The Shamrock

The green shamrock is a national symbol of Ireland, and it was thought that followers of St. Patrick wore a shamrock on his feast day. Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to represent how the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, existed in separate elements of the same entity.

Drinking Green Beer

I’m not exactly sure where this concept came from, but until 1995, all pubs in Ireland were closed due to the holiday. And there are differing accounts of whether the Irish even drank on this day.

Eating Corned Beef and Cabbage

While this may be popular to many Americans, only cabbage is an Irish dish. A traditional Irish meal would consist of ham and cabbage or bacon and cabbage. Technically no meat should even be eaten since St. Patrick’s Day falls between Lent, however for this day only, the Irish are allowed to celebrate and have a feast.

Even though St. Patrick’s Day might mean more than wearing green and getting tossed, I hope to see all of you in your green shirts today. Otherwise the pinchers might just come out.

More to Discover