Green ‘n Gold: St. Patrick’s Day Tradition


Lilian Jones

Igraine Trammel, 9, Zoe Clark, 10, Jessica Cuevas, 12, and Vanessa Hunt, 12, go all green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Lilian Jones, Journalist

When most think of Saint Patrick’s Day, the first image to come to mind is that of green, leprechauns, and pots of gold-wrapped chocolate. While this is what the holiday has evolved to, there is more behind the tradition. 

Saint Patrick’s Day originated in Ireland as a day of remembrance for Saint Patrick, a patron saint from Ireland during the fourth century who was credited with bringing Christianity to the country. When Irish immigrants came to the United States, they popularized the tradition of wearing green, which stems from folktales. To keep from being pinched by leprechauns and fairies, it became tradition to wear green which was thought to make people invisible. Pinching people who aren’t wearing green is meant as a reminder that magical creatures could sneak up on them at any moment. 

“I typically celebrate with my aunt, whose name is Patty, and wear green. I just think of it as my good luck color so it’s fun to dress up on St. Patrick’s Day,” Jessica Cuevas, 12, commented. 

The thought behind shamrocks comes from Saint Patrick, who used the three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity of Christianity. While the religious aspect is no longer widely recognized, the clover remains a staple of the holiday. Along with defending against the supernatural, the green items that are seen on Saint Patrick’s Day in the United States were also thought to be substitutes for the shamrock native to Ireland. 

Food is also an important and delicious staple of the holiday. When Irish immigrants fled to America from the famine that had struck in the countryside in 1840, they brought their recipes that are widely enjoyed across the country. 

“My family does a big sleepover, and we have a big St. Patrick’s Day themed breakfast,” Igraine Trammell, 9, said. “We put up decorations and eat corn beef and cabbage for dinner.” 

The St. Patrick’s Day tradition is more than just green and gold, but the holiday is fun for everyone. Although the American celebration is not authentically Irish with the exception of the shamrock, the holiday is anticipated across the country and celebrated by wearing green and eating Irish dishes that keep the tradition alive year after year.