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Why green St. Patrick's Day?

Why is St. Patrick's Day considered the green holiday? Watch the video for several suggestions on how what used to be the unlucky color for Ireland became symbolic of St. Patrick's Day, the day St. Patrick died.

The Catholic side of Ireland is identified with green whereas the Protestant side color is orange. St. Patrick was named a saint by the Catholic Church. The Irish flag is supposed to represent the unity of the two sides with white in the middle as the truce between the two sides. In Ireland Catholics wear green on St. Patrick's Day and protestants wear orange.

The green shamrock initially honored the Goddess of Ireland Ana in maiden, mother and crone stages. Later the shamrock was signified as St. Patrick's method of explaining the Christian trinity to parishioners.

Green is the color of the new shoots of springtime plants. The spring equinox begins on March 20th, close enough to St. Patrick's death date to tie in the spring color association. The verdant Irish countryside becomes green in spring, the finest season of the year as the earth there awakens.

The wearing of the shamrock in a hat signified that the wearer supported the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland, thus the phrase "the wearing of the green." It was the color of the Society of United Irishmen that launched the rebellion, a mixture of Catholics and protestants working together.

Green used to be considered an unlucky color in Ireland when royal blue was the color of the Irish, but pagans did not want to give up their wearing of the green for celebrating the Vernal Equinox rebirth of earth. There has been some discussion about returning to the blue color but it has never made much headway. Royal blue is still the color on the background of the golden harp on the Irish coat of arms and represents Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom coat of arms.

The original name of St. Patrick was Magonus Socatus. He was born in Britain, kidnapped and kept as a slave for six years in Ireland. He escaped and took the name Patricus. Returning to Ireland when he was about 40, he joined a mission there. He spent the remainder of his life in Christian work.

To see how environmentally green Ireland is, read Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency factsheet that includes topics like its greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, waste, transportation, climate change, agriculture, energy, nature and biodiversity.

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