Green…. we all know that if you don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day you get pinched – leaving many franticly scouring our closets for the lucky colour! Monuments worldwide are lit up green on St. Patrick’s Day in celebration and is referred to as Global Greening. But why?

Our research has led us to believe it’s due to the Irish Rebellion of 1798 when the Irish rose up against the British. During the rebellion, wearing green clothing or shamrocks was considered a rebellious act in and of itself, potentially even punishable by death as it was the color that most contrasted the British bold red uniforms. The Irish soldiers wore green and sang “The Wearing of the Green”, a song that clearly mocked the policy.  The song’s popularity firmly established green and the shamrock as important symbols of Irish pride.

If you haven’t heard the song, here are the lyrics:

“The Wearing of the Green”

Oh, Paddy dear, did you hear the news that’s going ’round?
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground
Saint Patrick’s Day no more to keep, his color can’t be seen
For there’s a bloody law again’ the Wearing of the Green.
I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand
And he said, “How’s poor old Ireland and how does she stand?”
“She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.”

She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

Then since the colour we must wear is England’s cruel red
Sure Ireland’s sons will never forget the blood that they have shed
You may pull the shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod
But ’twill take root and flourish there, though underfoot ’tis trod.
When laws can stop the blades of grass for growing as they grow
And when the leaves in summertime their verdure dare not show
Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen*
But ’til that day, please God, I’ll stick to Wearing of the Green.

She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

But if at last our color should be torn from Ireland’s heart
Her sons, with shame and sorrow, from the dear old Isle will part
I’ve heard a whisper of a land that lies beyond the sea
Where rich and poor stand equal in the light of Freedom’s day.
Ah, Erin, must we leave you, driven by a tyrant’s hand
Must we seek a mother’s blessing from a strange and distant land
Where the cruel cross of England shall never more be seen
And where, please God, we’ll live and die, still Wearing of the Green.

She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.

*”Caubeen” is an Irish word for a certain type of hat, similar to a beret.