Skip to main content

Why People Wear Green on St. Patrick's Day

Linda Sarhan has been a freelance writer and researcher for 20+ years and has a B.A. in English and creative writing.


It is said that if you wear green on St. Patrick's Day you will have good luck all day. This is a tradition not only for the United States but other countries as well. However, it isn't as big of a deal in Ireland like it is in other countries. In fact, up until the 1970s, most businesses closed on March 17 for religious observance. It wasn't until 1995 that Ireland decided to capitalize on the St. Patrick's Day trend to boost tourism.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the color blue was originally associated with St. Patrick's Day. But over time the marketing of the holiday took over, supposedly inspired by the "Emerald Isles" and the green in the Irish flag.

Actually, according to Irish traditions, it is said that wearing green attracts evil, especially evil fairies. It is said that fairies wear green and anyone wears green will be susceptible to their evil influence. In fact, there is a saying originating in the British Isles that says "anyone who wears green will have to wear black soon afterward."

Perhaps it is all just a bunch of hype. Luck is what you make of it really. If you believe in the superstition of wearing green on St. Patrick's Day brings you luck then it will bring you luck. If you have any doubts whatsoever, then it won't really matter. I think most people will agree it is just for show. Some people find it fun and adventurous while others are just annoyed by it.

Growing up, wearing green it was a huge deal, especially if St. Patrick's Day fell on a school day. You can almost guarantee getting pinched if you weren't wearing green. These weren't friendly pinches either. Kids can be mean and so are their pinches. Apparently having green eyes or wearing green underwear doesn't count. Some adults are like this too.

However, even the tradition of pinching has a history. The Irish flag is green, white, and orange. For those that participate in wearing any color, there are traditions behind it. The Catholic wear green and the Protestants wear orange. So the flag represents the Catholic, the Protestants, and the peace that is supposed to be between them. So where does the pinching come into play? Well, it is supposed to be a mild act of violence to represent the feud between the Catholics and the Protestants. Of course, it is also believed that leprechauns and fairies will pinch you if you don't wear green.

Scroll to Continue

Wearing green is supposed to be a representation of celebrating the Irish culture. As mentioned before, a person can celebrate their Irish heritage in other ways. Consider using St. Patrick's Day as a way to celebrate the richness of the Irish culture and make a point each year to learn new about the Irish culture. This includes folklore, art, history and so on. Above all, consider trying new traditional foods that have roots in Ireland. Your taste buds will thank you.

© 2015 Linda Sarhan


Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 24, 2015:

Until reading your hub, the only thing I knew about wearing green on St. Patrick's Day was I had better wear green or I would get pinched. It is interesting to read about the color green and how it plays into St. Patrick's Day.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 21, 2015:

green for st patricks day, red fir chinese new year and christmas and Valentine's Day, all abt luck, common beliefs, voted up

Related Articles