No matter your heritage, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day. And that means you should wear green. But why?
Although some historical accounts originally link the color blue with St. Patrick's Day, that changed in the 17th century when green became the holiday's special color.
Here are the four reasons green is equated with St. Patrick's Day:
Green is one of the three colors in the Irish flag.
With its lush, green landscape, Ireland is known as the "Emerald Isle."
Green is the color of spring.
Green is the color of the shamrock.
Originally a Roman Catholic feast day for Ireland's patron saint, St. Patrick's Day was only celebrated in Ireland before the 1600s. By the 1700s, it had evolved into a secular holiday as Irish immigrants to the United States began holding the first St. Patrick's Day parades. These festivities were a chance to not only show off their patriotism for Ireland, but also make a political statement about their discontent with their low social status in America.
Why do we eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day?
Although cabbage and potatoes are staples of the Irish diet, the traditional meat eaten on St. Patrick's Day in Ireland is Irish bacon--not corned beef. Because Irish immigrants to the United States could not afford Irish bacon, they substituted corned beef, a much cheaper meat they learned about from Jewish immigrants.
If you forget to wear green, why will you get pinched?
If you don't wear green on St. Patrick's Day, prepare to be pinched. But only if you're in the United States. This is an American tradition that is traced to the 1700s. An old Irish legend has it that those who wear green are invisible to leprechauns, those fairy creatures who randomly pinch people no matter what color they're wearing. So folks started pinching anyone who didn't wear green as a reminder of the leprechauns and their sneaky ways.