Appalachia Holidays in Appalachia

Saint Patrick’s Day…Have You Got Your Green On?

wear green on saint Patrick's day or be pinched

When I think of Saint Patrick’s Day the first thing that comes to mind is if you don’t wear green you’ll get pinched.

I remember the day being a big deal when I was in elementary school. Everyone had to make sure to remember to wear green or suffer the consequences.

After I started the Blind Pig and The Acorn I came across the saying that if someone pinched you when you did have green on, you get to pinch them back 10 times. I wish I had known that when I was in middle school.

One time I asked Granny and Pap if pinching for not wearing green went on when they were kids. They both said they didn’t even know there was a Saint Patrick’s Day until they were grown.

Over the years a few of you have left comments about the tradition of wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Tim Hassell: I remember getting pinched if you didn’t wear green or if you did wear green it was an opportunity for the kids to cut up. Mostly I remember Saint Patrick’s Day as the day we planted “Arsh potatoes”.

Ken Roper: Tipper, Out of respect for the Irish Tradition I try to wear something green on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m like Pap, never heard of this pinching stuff growing up. But my daddy sure could pinch. One time in Church my brother got me to noticing a wasper bumping his head on the ceiling. That got me to sniggerin’ and here come daddy. He caught us by the ears and out the door we went. After we came back in, that wasper wasn’t funny anymore.

Ron Banks: Top O’ the morning to ye! I found this in regard to getting pinched on St. Patrick’s Day. “Forgot to wear green on St. Patty’s Day? Don’t be surprised if you get pinched. No surprise, it’s an entirely American tradition that probably started in the early 1700s. St. Patrick’s revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green). People began pinching those who didn’t wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers.”

————–

I’ve heard of other folks planting their arsh potatoes on Saint Patrick’s Day like Tim’s family.

Ken’s story about his daddy reminds me of the time I pinched one of the girls in church to warn them they better settle down. Of course she yelled out “Ouch don’t pinch me Momma!”

Thanks to Ron-I know I need to wear green today so I’ll be invisible to those sneaky leprechauns.

Tipper

 

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 19, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Correction….That sentence was supposed to read that the brisket was not real fatty or salty! My mind either goes in front or lags behind my typin’ fingers! Ha

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 19, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Tipper,
    Our son invited us to supper today for Corned Beef and Cabbage along with some carrots and taters…Sure was a great meal. He put the, looked to be a real lean brisket, in the slow cooker and then added the carrots, taters and cabbage after it was done. It was real fatty or salty! So I got my Irish meal. No Sodie bread or Guinness though! ha We all wore shades of green, so no one got pinched!
    Only one feller I saw got “pinched”, a policeman had him pulled over and he had his pad and pencil in hand. So his pot o’ gold will go on fines I suppose!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Loved the post and by the way. Pinching for not wearing green was popular when I was a kid in the forties/fifties…so it has been around a while!

  • Reply
    Howland
    March 17, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    ‘Twas me paternal grandmother who was born of parents that emigrated from Ireland; from that I am no less that 25% Irish. The rest is a mixture of Scot and English blood, and much of that from the north of Ireland. I have a good friend whose grands, all four of them, were born in Ireland, and who laughingly calls me an Orangeman…

  • Reply
    Jeanne
    March 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I don’t remember St. Patrick’s day being anything special at home or school when I was growing up. Guess we were a little bit Irish, but Mom would always say we were Heinz (like 57 varieties) or “just” American. We really are a great mix.
    My father-in-law’s birthday was on St. Patrick’s day so after I was married we always made a big deal out of it. We made sure we wore green and my mother-in-law always had corned beef and cabbage. Yum!! We all love this special treat. Grandma made green frosting for the cake and did a lot of Irish green decorating. Grand kids thought it as great fun. No one was ever pinched.
    Well, I had better go and start my corned beef. Can’t wait.

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    March 17, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Oh b’gosh an’ b’golly, I forgot m’green!

  • Reply
    TimMc
    March 17, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I remember the days of pinching in school, usually someone ended up in a fight. I guess I’m in the tradition our fire resistant pants we wear as our uniform is green.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 17, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Many if not most of our Scots-Irish ancestors were only temporarily Irish. They came from the Scottish highlands first. When they found they didn’t like Ireland and that Ireland didn’t like them, they moved on to America where they found themselves some more highlands to settle down in. The Appalachian highlands!

  • Reply
    Ken
    March 17, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Tipper,
    I didn’t wear anything Green today, I thought it was yesterday. As I get older, things don’t seem to mean much to me, especially the holidays. Most of ’em are too commercialized for me. But I like St. Patrick’s Day. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    March 17, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m not sure if I have any Irish blood or not. I for sure have Scottish ancestors on my mom’s side traced back to Scotland. My surname can be English or Scottish.
    Wearing green was always fun as a child as was trying to find someone to pinch.
    I don’t make an effort to purposely wear green now on this day. What I will do is have a pint of my latest batch of home brew this evening and raise a toast to all the Irish!
    I didn’t know about the Irish flag and it’s meaning so thanks to Dee Parks for that interesting fact!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    March 17, 2017 at 10:27 am

    There are many beautiful Irish Blessings but here’s one to give you a giggle.
    May those who love us, love us.
    And those that don’t love us…
    May God turn their ankles so we will know them by their limping.

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    March 17, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I was always told we were Irish, English and American Indian but I don’t remember wearing the green until I was older and married. My husband is also Irish and one St. Patrick’s Day I was getting out my green apparel when my husband said he would not wear green. He is a jokester so I thought he was kidding when he said he would wear Orange because he followed William of Orange. Had no idea what he was talking about, so I checked out the history and this is what I found.
    “Not everyone in Ireland is Roman Catholic, and the Irish flag highlights the differences. While Catholics were associated with the color green, Protestants were associated with the color orange due to William of Orange – the Protestant king of England, Scotland and Ireland who in 1690 defeated the deposed Roman Catholic King James II. Therefore, on St. Patrick’s Day, Protestants protest by wearing orange instead of green.”
    I still like to wear the Green because I think of Ireland as the “Emerald Green Isle.”
    Ironically, no one wears white; the placement of the white stripe between the green and orange stripes on the Irish flag is supposed to symbolize the peace between the Roman Catholic majority and the Protestant minority.
    I remember my grandmother referring to Arsh Potatoes and I can just see her getting her garden out early. We have about 9 inches of snow left from this big storm that plowed up the East coast so it will be a little later before they are planting here.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 17, 2017 at 9:58 am

    I never had a problem getting pinched.
    “Where is you green?”
    “I always wear green!”
    “Where?”
    “Look at my eyes!”
    “Well l’ll be! They are ain’t they!”
    I call my eyes hazel but it’s close enough to keep me from getting pinched.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 17, 2017 at 9:09 am

    When I was a kid in school we wore something green on Saint Patrick’s day or got pinched. As a working adult I was frequently scolded for not wearing something green but there was no pinching. I still occasionally hear a comment about not wearing the green but the truth is I don’t keep up with the dates any more, it’s just not important.
    I lived a lot of years having to always be conscious of the time and date. That is no longer the case. I am free to just live, and I do!

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    March 17, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I read the post and went and pinched my wife. She pinched me back and said she had on green. Her eyes are green.
    I have heard that called panch.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    March 17, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I read the post and went and pinched my wife. She pinched me back and said she had on green. Her eyes are green.
    I have heard that called panch.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    March 17, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I read the post and went and pinched my wife. She pinched me back and said she had on green. Her eyes are green.
    I have heard that called panch.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    March 17, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I read the post and went and pinched my wife. She pinched me back and said she had on green. Her eyes are green.
    I have heard that called panch.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 17, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Do not recall when I first encountered the pinching if not wearing green. Ethnically, there was no Irish identity that I knew of where I grew up. Also never heard that St. Patty’s Day was when to plant potatoes. In fact, I don’t recall any particular tradition for the timing of planting them. I just know that where I live now I need 3 months of growth before July 1rst when the tops will start declining in the heat. So that means roughly mid-March.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. Don’t get pinched.

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    March 17, 2017 at 6:25 am

    In our part of southern Ohio Arsh potatoes were always planted on St. Patrick’s Day. We are to be getting freezing rain today, planting likely will not happen today for those who still live down home.
    I am further north now, no potato planting til later. Few people around here plant them at all.

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