Once upon a Saint Patrick's Day many years ago, I was a little girl in a panic, looking for anything green to wear to school. As any elementary school kid can tell you, if you don't wear green you're going to get pinched. After I was suitably dressed, I headed to breakfast, and expressed my relief at finding green clothes for the day.
My dad told me the most bizarre thing that day: wearing orange is just as acceptable on Saint Patrick's Day. I knew Dad just didn't understand the way the day would play out if I wore anything but green. He explained to me something about history and Ireland and religion, and I'm sure my eyes glazed over, and most certainly did a little rolling. I just chalked it up to Dad's love of history trivia, but I wasn't about to wear anything other than green on this particular day.
In honor of Daddy, here's a brief history of Saint Patrick's Day from ABC News:
|Click HERE to watch a brief video about Saint Patrick's Day by ABC News|
Yesterday it occurred to me that I never did understand what it was he was trying to teach me, so I Googled it. "Orange on St. Patrick's Day." And all sorts of articles popped up.
The flag of Ireland has three vertical stripes of color. The field of green represents the original Catholic Ireland, the orange on the other side represents the Irish Protestants, and the white in the middle is the hope for peace between the two. So, Dad knew what he was talking about after all.
This morning as I hastily dressed to get to the tire store before my 8:00 appointment, I grabbed the only short-sleeved shirt hanging in my closet, which just happened to be light green. It was cold out, and I took my white hoody off its hanger, leaving the other jacket behind which was a white windbreaker. The first pair of socks I grabbed had owls on them, and just happened to be orange. I accidentally have all my bases covered for Saint Patrick's Day today. (If you're shaking your head at my chosen outfit, keep in mind I HASTILY dressed without much thought about fashion (as usual), and I was headed to the TIRE store.)
So, if anyone asks if it's okay to wear orange today, the quick answer is yes, but there is more to that than meets the eye. Irish Protestants might proudly wear their orange, but it can be perceived as offensive to others, showing disrespect to the Irish Catholics.
If you are an American school child, I can only hope you remembered to wear something green today. Getting pinched is no fun, and I'm not sure any of your little friends will wait long enough to hear a mini-history lesson before they pinch you and run away. As for me, I'm celebrating with the wearin' o' the green AND just a bit o' the orange. The wearin' o' the white makes me feel good about paying homage to both sides today.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
|Ignoring everything I've learned about Saint Patrick, here's a little gratuitous humor|
to commemorate his day.