Why You Are A Rebel If You Wear Green On St. Patrick’s Day

By Divya G March 5, 2024

When you hear St. Patrick’s Day, the vibrant color that comes to mind is green. From parades in Dublin to festivities in New York City, green dominates the celebration. However, the historical association of St. Patrick himself with this hue might come as a surprise.

Courtesy of seemona.rahman/Instagram


Contrary to popular belief, Saint Patrick was historically depicted in blue robes, with shades of blue deeply entrenched in Irish symbolism. From the royal coats of arms to the attire of revered figures like Flaitheas Éireann, blue held sway. Even today, traces of this tradition linger, such as the iconic St. Patrick’s Blue.

Green Emerges: A Symbolic Evolution

The transition from blue to green as Ireland’s symbolic color wasn’t a reflection of its landscapes but rather of religious and national pride. The green shamrock, central to St. Patrick’s teachings, became a potent emblem, illustrating the concept of the Trinity. However, it was the Rebellion of 1798 that cemented green as a symbol of Irish defiance against British rule.

The Rebellion: Green’s Political Allegiance

The short-lived but impactful Rebellion of 1798 ignited a fervor for independence, with green becoming synonymous with Irish rebellion. The attire of the Society of United Irishmen, featuring green coats adorned with shamrocks, became a visual testament to the nation’s fight for autonomy.

Cultural Reinforcement: “The Wearing of the Green”

“The Wearing of the Green,” a defiant street ballad born from the Rebellion, further solidified green’s association with Irish identity. Sung passionately by Irish immigrants in the United States, it became a rallying cry for solidarity and pride in one’s heritage.

Modern Significance: Beyond Tradition

Today, green continues to be intertwined with St. Patrick’s Day, serving as a global symbol of Irish culture and resilience. Aside from green clothes and accessories, the holiday is celebrated in big ways in countries all over the world. While blue remains a part of Ireland’s official symbolism, it’s green that captures the popular imagination, symbolizing not just the country’s landscapes but also its spirit of unity and defiance.

The Chicago River – Courtesy of ScottMLiebenson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, let us celebrate not just the color green but also the rich tapestry of Irish history and heritage it represents. Whether adorned in shamrocks or raising a toast to Ireland’s environmental efforts, let the spirit of green remind us of the enduring legacy of Saint Patrick and the resilience of the Irish people.