A Mystery? Why do people really wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

March 16, 2011 by Patricia Walston @ Examiner

(Part One)

For as long as anyone can remember, you dared not appear at school on St. Patrick’s Day in Atlanta without wearing something green.  It didn’t matter if you were Jewish, Italian, or Greek, you would get pinched without anything green on you somewhere.

You would be punished for not wearing green; while way back in the days of old in Ireland you would be hung if you wore green.

Once I remember attending Luckie Street School in Atlanta and got trapped.  I had nothing green on myself. I had been pinched quite enough already when I realized that this Irish gal had green eyes.  I wear my green proudly every day of my life. (It is said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.)

There will be a lot of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day here in Atlanta; and many will wear green and not have a clue as to why.  However, Atlanta got an early start by already having had their parade on.

Now do you know the history behind why you wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?


“The Wearing of the Green” Irish street ballad dates to 1798. The context of the song is the repression around the time of the Irish Rebellion against England of 1798.  The song had been attributed to others but it was Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot who received the most credit for the song as it is today.

Wearing a shamrock in the “caubeen” (hat) was a sign of rebellion and green was the colour of the Society of the United Irishmen, a republican revolutionary organization. During the period, displaying of revolutionary insignias was made punishable by hanging. The color of England was red as we know from American history as they were called, “The red coats!”

More reading here (Part 2)

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