Social Question

Dog's avatar

How did the tradition of pinching a person not wearing green on St. Patricks Day start and it it still an active tradition?

Asked by Dog (24438 points ) March 17th, 2010

This morning I painted tiny shamrocks on our little girls cheeks because they did not have green to wear.
It occurred to me that it was my concern about the green and not theirs which now makes me wonder:

1. How did this tradition start?

2. Is it still active?

3. Did you go out of your way to wear green today?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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16 Answers

trumi's avatar

I used to wear orange and inform all the other kids that my family was Protestant Irish, not Catholic, so they should shut it.

I got pinched a lot…

mrentropy's avatar

1) I don’t know
2) I don’t know
3) I got dressed in a rush this morning and it was purely accidental that I wore green. If I thought that I’d get my bottom pinched by attractive women I would have happily wore a different color.

aprilsimnel's avatar

When I was in 5th grade, a girl in my class pinched me because I mentioned that there’s Irish in my family. She though I was lying, but I wasn’t. Tons of people in the US have Irish ancestry and you’d never know it to look at them. Anyway, I’ve not been pinched since then; I was under the impression that this was a kid thing.

1. How did this tradition start? ::shrugs:: You got me.

2. Is it still active? I’ll bet kids love it. :D

3. Did you go out of your way to wear green today? I’ve got green on, but didn’t think about it until I saw this question.

Sophief's avatar

1. I don’t know
2.I don’t know
3.No

All that happens here is the pubs fill up, it’s just an excuse for a piss up.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I have to assume it was drunken groping.

J0E's avatar

I remember it being a big deal in middle school, people would brutally pinch you if you didn’t wear green. I don’t know where the tradition started, but because of school I always remember to wear green.

bellusfemina's avatar

Historically, it comes from the fact that under the English domination, people were actually not allowed to wear green. Because to Irish, green represented their country (take a look at any landscape picture of Ireland and you know why), the English didn’t want to see it.

Today, Irish (and non-Irish who are Irish for the day) wear green (usually a shamrock in the lapel) to symbolize their Irish identity and make up for when they feared wearing it and getting killed/

Under the English, if you were caught speaking Gaelic (the traditional Irish language) or wearing green, they would kill you. One of the more traditional Irish songs is called The Wearing of the Green. I’ve included the liyrics below:

O Paddy dear, an’ did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round?
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground;
St. Patrick’s Day no more we’ll keep, his colour can’t be seen,
For there’s a cruel law agin the wearin’ o’ 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 hangin’ men an’ women there for the wearin’ o’ the Green.

Then since the colour we must wear is England’s cruel red,
Sure Ireland’s sons will ne’er forget the blood that they have shed,
You may take a shamrock from your hat and cast it on the sod,
It will take root and flourish there though underfoot it’s trod.

When law can stop the blades of grass from growin’ as they grow,
And when the leaves in summer-time their colour dare not show,
Then will I change the colour, too, I wear in my caubeen
But ‘till that day, please God, I’ll stick to wearin’ o’ the Green.

But if at last our colour 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.

O Erin, must we leave you driven by a tyrant’s hand?
Must we ask a mother’s blessing from a strange and distant land?
Where the cruel cross of England shall nevermore be seen,
And where, please God, we’ll live and die still wearin’ o’ the green!

jonsblond's avatar

It’s still active at my daughter’s grade school. Today happens to be their spring picture day. The envelope from the photographer had a special note attached “Please do not wear green on this day”.

She wanted to wear some green, so we found a cute Oshkosh shirt with spring flowers on it. Her choice! :)

If I had something green I would probably wear it. My paternal grandmother was Irish, this day reminds me of her.

mcbealer's avatar

1. I didn’t know before this question, but I’ll go with the GA @bellusfemina posted
2. still active, although I’ve seen more ladies than guys decked out in green today
3. No. I used to wear my green Chucks, but no longer have them. Also, my work uniform is black and navy blue. :(

MrItty's avatar

This is the first time in my 31 year old life I’ve ever heard of this. Grew up with an Irish mother, a stone’s throw from the very Irish Holyoke, MA.

MagicalMystery's avatar

Never heard of it.

neverawake's avatar

i don’t know how it started but it’s stupid and pointless.

rangerr's avatar

OH man. I was brutal to people who didn’t wear green. I’m not as mean about it now. It was always tradition for me, but like Joe said, I will never forget because of how mean we were to each other about it.

I love dressing up, so I always go out of my way to wear green. My hair is sprayed green today. I’m that cool.

MissAusten's avatar

I don’t know how it started, but I hope no one pinches my little boys today. Both of them went to school with no green. Woops!

I’m not wearing green either, and so far I’ve made it through the day without any pinching. When I was a kid, I always heard the “wear green or you’ll get pinched” thing, and at school we used to pinch each other for not wearing green on St. Patrick’s day.

However, I am making corned beef for the first time in my life. No cabbage, because none of us like it. And I do know that corned beef and cabbage isn’t traditionally Irish, just Americanized Irish. It’s in the crockpot and smells awesome!

YARNLADY's avatar

I usually stayed home on St Patricks Day when I was a child, because the children tormented me so, even though I did wear green. They would pinch me and say “Oh, I didn’t see it” even if my entire blouse was green. After a couple of years, I dreaded that day so much I cried, so my Mom let me stay home.

Ron_C's avatar

I grew up in a medium sized Western Pennsylvania city and never heard of pinching people on St. Patrick’s day and we had a sizable number of Irish Americans. The only tradition that I know of is visiting the bars that celebrated the holiday. We could only make it to a few bars before we had to leave the car and take a taxi home. Our only painful tradition was the day after St. Patrick’s day hangover.

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