Orange You Glad?

17 03 2011

People are wearing absurd amounts of  green today, which can only mean one thing: it is St. Patrick’s Day. There are not that many holidays where a certain color dominates everything associated with that day, but specifically, the clothes people wear to celebrate. On Valentine’s Day (another holiday with Christian origins) people celebrate by wearing red or pink. And I suppose I’ll include Christmas, where instead two colors dominate; red and green. (Christmas is like a combination of St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’sDay, if you think about it on the color scale of things!)

But here’s an interesting fact about St. Patrick’s Day according to Wikipedia:

“Originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the color green and its association with Saint Patrick’s day grew. He [Saint Patrick] is said to have used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, in hopes of making a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention.

Well, the wearing of green head-to-toe, especially when one wouldn’t normally don the color at all, would catch the public’s attention. But my question is, why did the color green get so popular? If we look at the flag of Ireland, you can see that there is another color that gets zero love on this holiday:

That’s right, where’s the love for the orange? Apparently the orange of the flag is a symbol of the Orange Institution, a sort of religious fraternity, “To promote and propagate “Biblical Protestantism” and the principles of the Reformation.” So I suppose it’s a good thing that everyone doesn’t go around on St. Patrick’s Day wearing all orange, because for one, it shouldn’t be a holiday set out to convert people and also, because that could be pretty atrocious. (Unless however, you were in Birdland, supporting the O’s, of course!)

So I suppose we should thank our luck stars (hearts, clovers, and blue moons) that although orange is a pretty neat and under-appreciated color, the color of choice on this day is green. Green is probably an easier color to find clothing in, anyways. And of course, there are the shamrocks as the St. Patrick’s Day symbol that we could not forget! (An orange shamrock just looks sickly or dead, which is not something to celebrate.) Orange you glad we use green as St. Patrick’s color of choice?




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