Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On St. Patrick’s Day, my father always wore...

Not the fruit. The color.

When he was young, I think he rather enjoyed getting into fistfights with the wearers o’ the green.

Dad’s love of orange may explain the contrarian streak in my nature. I think I have told you before that when the whole world is advocating A, I tend to consider the merits of B. It’s not a bad philosophy to have. But you probably won’t win any popularity contests.

If you don’t know why Dad wore orange, you probably shouldn’t be wearing either orange or green on March 17th. But, hey, I’m just a voice crying in the wlderness. Far be it from me to spoil the fun of a nation of stereotype perpetuators.

[Note to the confused: If I have my history right, green was the Catholic color and orange was the Protestant color. If I’m wrong, I hope someone will let me know. --RWP]

But since it is St. Patrick's Day, you can read all about St. Patrick here.

I do like that the three-leaved shamrock can be used to teach the doctrine of the Trinity -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- one God.

This does not explain the existence of a four-leaf clover.


  1. Does it have something to do with William of Orange?

  2. Forgot to click for follow-up emails. Would you believe I only recently learned to do that. I'm very slow.

  3. Jeannelle - I would say yes, it most definitely has something to do with William of Orange. Very good! If you want to read all the gory details, here and here might be good places to start.

  4. Happy day after St. Urho's Day. I'm still wearing purple.
    We Finns want to stay out of Irish color fights.

  5. I don't wear either color but grew up Catholic. My eyes are green if that counts.

  6. "St. Patrick's Blue, not green, was the colour long-associated with St. Patrick. Green, the colour most widely associated with Ireland, with Irish people, and with St. Patrick's Day in modern times, may have gained its prominence through the phrase "the wearing of the green" meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing. At many times in Irish history, to do so was seen as a sign of Irish nationalism or loyalty to the Roman Catholic faith. St. Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish. The wearing of and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the saint's holiday.[12] The change to Ireland's association with green rather than blue probably began around the 1750's.[13][14]

    Some Protestants have begun wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day as a mark of defiance.[15] This relatively new tradition has its roots in William of Orange (William III), the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, who defeated King James II, a Roman Catholic, in the Battle of the Boyne near Dublin. William's victory would ensure Protestant military dominance on the island and has been a source of tension ever since. Although the "Orange" in William's name actually referred to a province in southern France, the colour reference of orange for Protestants stuck. This is why orange now appears in the Irish flag - to symbolize the Protestant minority in Ireland.[16] The first group to take part in the tradition of wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day appears to have been the Orange Institution, a Protestant fraternal organization more commonly known as the Orange Order. Some members of the order wore orange in various parades on St. Patrick's Day as a mark of defiance."
    Whew, that's long. I found it somewhere on the internet :)

  7. Nice of Rosezilla to provide that fascinating info. And, thank you for providing us with links to English monarchy history, ever confusing though it be, yet so interesting. William of Orange is commended for having only one mistress....bless his heart. He has a VERY lengthy page on Wikipedia.

  8. Very good comments! I didn't know about St. Urho's day in Finland or Patrick's blue or...well, there are a lot of things I don't know very much about and a lot more things I don't know anything about.

  9. What a coincidence! My eyes also are green and are getting greener the older I get.

  10. Maybe green eyes and the tendency to be drawn to blogging are connected?