Appalachia Holidays in Appalachia

Wear Green Or Be Pinched!

Wear Green Or Be Pinched

St. Patrick’s Day is set aside to honor St. Patrick, who was born around 385 C.E. As a young man St. Patrick was kidnapped and forced into slavery. During this time he came to depend on God, as he had nothing else to believe or hope in.

After escaping from captivity, St. Patrick became a Priest and was commissioned by the Pope to spread Christianity through out Ireland. St. Patrick spent the rest of his life traveling the country doing the work of God.

St. Patrick died on March 17th-after his death he was proclaimed the Patron Saint of Ireland and the day was set aside to honor him forever more.

In Ireland St. Patrick’s Day is still celebrated as a religious holiday. Here in the US, some view St. Patrick’s Day as a time for a good party, others eat a traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage to celebrate the day.

A Pinch


When I think of St. Patrick’s Day the first thing that comes to mind-is if you don’t wear green you get pinched! I remember in Elementary School it was a big deal-you had to make sure you remembered to wear green-or suffer the consequences. As I recall the bus ride home was the worst place for getting pinched-as the ever watching eyes of the teachers were not present.

I did learn something new from researching St. Patrick. If someone pinches you and you do have green on-you get to pinch them back 10 times! Wonder if I should share that tid bit with the girls in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day?

I ask Granny and Pap if the “pinching” went on when they were kids. They both said they didn’t even know there was a St. Patrick’s Day until they were grown. How about you-ever been pinched for not wearing green?


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in March 2009.


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  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    March 16, 2013 at 8:32 pm

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

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Never heard this one before!

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    March 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I was a forties child and we wore green to school if the day was on a school day and not a weekend like this year. Yep, we were pinched if we didn’t have green on. It usually didn’t take for one pinch to sneek in a green piece of construction paper and cut out a shamrock or color a white piece of paper green. Then tape or pin the shamrock on our collar….
    We were always doing the “pinch or a punch” for the first of any month also…I was always gettin’ caught on that one.
    I made corned beef and cabbage the first of the week so I probably won’t be having it Sunday.
    I might just take down my Irish Mug and have a rootbeer float and celebrate the day.
    River Shannon
    There’s a pretty spot in Ireland
    I always claim as my land,
    Where the faires and the blarney will never, never die.
    It’s the land of the shill-laah, My heart goes back there daily-
    To the lad I left behind me–When we kissed and said goodbye.
    Where dear old Shannon’s flowing,
    Where the three leaved shamrock grows,
    Where my heart is I’m going, To my little Irish beau,
    The moment that I meet him, with a hug and kiss I’ll greet him, For there’s not a man sweeter,–Where the river Shannon flows.
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    josé Luis
    March 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Hello Tipper
    This story I have told you, but I write for your readers again.
    Here in Argentina, one of the heroes of our independence, was an Irish of County Mayo.
    The Admiral was Sr William Brown, who was playing in battle a piper who always carried with him, SAINT PATRICK’S DAY IN THE MORNING.
    He was the founder of the glorious Armada Argentina (The Argentine Navy).
    We have a military march of the Navy, which is called just like that, “Saint Patrick’s Day in the Morning”.
    This song also in USA you have within the military march of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, who commanded the famous General Custer.
    The Irish and their descendants, people so dear to the Argentines, I wish you a beautiful and happy St. Patrick’s Day.
    May God and St. Patrick bless and protect you always.
    Warm regards to all of them, Jose Luis, from Buenos Aires.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    As one of my grandmothers was Irish, I never dressed inappropriately on Paddy’s Day.
    Aye, ’tis “Paddy”, nae “Patty”; for the name in th’ Auld Sod was “Padraic”, nae “Patrick”…

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph. D,
    March 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Tipper: Spending 25 years in a high school classroom setting provided me with settling many a scramble that was generated on St. Patrick’s Day! If folks only knew how much disturbance that day can bring forth they might BAN IT! But I still like it and try to observe it!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I remember that custom about getting pinched if you didn’t wear some green. But alot of those Neanderthals boys that rode our bus would pinch you whether you had any green on or not. We were real shy and stayed away from the girls though. Some of those high school girls were ready willing and able to give us little boys a good spankin’ at the drop of the hat.LOL There was this one little girl that had pretty brown eyes and freckles but, I was too shy to even look at her long at a time but, she always had some green on. Dang it!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    As a child, I had to wear a school uniform – a jumper which was green. I was saved. But in high school, we had to wear navy blue with a white shirt – I usually wore a green bow or something. I was safe. Now I still wear green on St. Patty’s Day or else I wear a green pin of some type of shape. I also cook the traditional corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. It’s a crockpot dinner for us. I always correlated snakes with Ireland. Anyone else?

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    March 16, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I vaguely remember the tradition of wearing green and the pinch if you didn’t have any on in elementary,, not in high school.. Our family is mainly Scots-Welsh,, with out the Kilts 🙂

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

    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

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I have never heard that saying about being pinched if not wearing green—but then as a kid I always remembered to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day—very interesting though wonder when that custom started and is a US thing or did it come from the Irish

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

    When I was in school the boys didn’t pinch and St. Patrick’s Day an excuse to get close to the girls. Sadly the prettiest ones wouldn’t pinch me either.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    March 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

    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.

  • Reply
    spshell ed
    March 16, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Du ye no if Patrick wuz his furst er last name? I no ther wuz sum mor Patricks over thar in Arland. I thank tha cald sum uv em Patty. Tha cald mi ole womuns ant Patty tu but her name Patricia but she mite stil be kin to Saint Patrick. Peeple said she wuz a saint to. ♣ ♣ ♣

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 16, 2013 at 10:00 am

    And a happy St Patties Day to all. Yes, in school it was wear green or get pinched. Sometimes we had green paper shamrocks to suffice for the green.
    As an adult working folks would say where is your green it’s St Patrick’s day. Coworkers usually didn’t pinch though.
    We never had the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage as I was growing up but I’ve cooked it many times as an adult.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

    If we didn’t have anything green to wear or simply forgot, we would lie and say our underwear was green to avoid a pinching. Mom said she almost named me Patty. I have often wondered but never asked her if it was because I was born on St. Patrick’s Day or because my grandma was named Patty.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 16, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Oh no, my family is Scots-Irish. We knew better. Any idea where the tradition came from?

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