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Should We Be Wearing Blue on St. Patrick’s Day?

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Should We Be Wearing Blue on St. Patrick’s Day?

Post by Dragon on Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:24 pm

St. Patrick’s Day is the holiday when even the most recalcitrant American feels tempted to don green clothing or sip on some green beer. But what if everyone wore blue on March 17 each year instead? After all, the earliest depictions of St. Patrick show him clothed in blue garments, not green, and that when George III created a new order of chivalry for the Kingdom of Ireland, the Order of St. Patrick, its official color was a sky blue, known as “St. Patrick’s Blue.”


The significance of blue dates back to early Irish mythology when the sovereignty of Ireland, Flaitheas Éireann, was often represented by a woman dressed in a blue robe. According to legend, the depiction was based on the 10th-century queen named Gormfhlaith, a portmanteau of the ancient Irish words for blue (gorm) and sovereign (flaith). But John T. Koch, in his Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, argues that this legend has little basis in truth, writing that “Gormfhlaith should not be seen as a sort of living representative of the mythic literary sovereignty goddess, as previously suggested.”

When Henry VIII assumed the throne, after more than 300 years of English rule over Ireland, he took steps to strengthen his hold on the isle, declaring himself King of Ireland in 1541, making it a part of the England and giving it its own coat of arms. This was the first official instance of connecting the color blue with Ireland, using a golden harp on a blue background; the same symbol can be seen today on the Constitution of Ireland and the Presidential flag.

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Re: Should We Be Wearing Blue on St. Patrick’s Day?

Post by Dragon on Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:28 pm

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St. Patrick wearing blue robes in this 13th century image.

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Re: Should We Be Wearing Blue on St. Patrick’s Day?

Post by Dragon on Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:35 pm

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The current design for the Presidential flag of Ireland.

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Re: Should We Be Wearing Blue on St. Patrick’s Day?

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