How Green Became Associated With St. Patrick’s Day

 

On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is seeing green—whether it’s the green Chicago River, green beer, green milkshakes or green clothing and bead necklaces. Many might believe that the Emerald Isle and the color green are linked because of the country’s verdant landscape, but the association actually traces its roots to Irish political history.In fact, blue is believed to have been associated with Ireland before green was. Henry the VIII claimed to be king of Ireland in the 16th century, and his flag at that point would have been blue. This is according to Timothy McMahon, Vice President of the American Conference for Irish Studies. Timmothy McMahon argues the earliest use of green for nationalistic reasons was seen during the violent Great Irish Rebellion of 1641, in which displaced landowners and bishops rebelled against the authority of the English crown.The color green cropped up again during an effort in the 1790s to bring nonsectarian, republican ideas to Ireland, inspired by the American revolution and the French revolution.The origins of the wearing of green clothing on St. Patrick’s Day and for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in general date back to the 19th century, when waves of Irish immigrants came to North America …… Ed

Source: Olivia Waxman

Posted in All Stories, Ed McMahon

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