When I was in elementary school, it was not such a good idea to
show up on March 17th, wearing anything other than green. All
three hundred some students would take much pleasure in delivering
their hardest, twisting pinch. This odd practice taught me, at a tender
age, that you get pinched if you're a nonconformist. I also found out
that pinching gives you bruises, so you actually can have some green
on you, if you forget to wear it.
Pinching those not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day is a long
standing American tradition, having really nothing to do with St. Pat.
It does, however, involve the Irish and Leprechauns. It's thought
that the pinching started in the early 1700s, in the Massachusetts
colony. It was believed, if you wore green, it made you invisible to
the Leprechauns, who were known to pinch anyone they could see.
My mother, never big on holidays or traditions, certainly did not
promote the "wearin' o' the green". WE don't WEAR green on
St. Patrick's Day. She would say, with more than a little disdain.
WE'RE not Irish! Well, it only took a few years of coming home black,
blue, and green from school on St. Paddy's, for me to learn to look
lively, and be sure to wear green on March 17th. To this day, I
proudly wear, not only green, but my favorite shamrock brooch, as
The amusing thing is, while I was doing genealogical research
several years back, I found that my paternal line, although
originating in Scotland, spent several hundred years in Ireland
before migrating to America. I also found a paternity issue in my
maternal line, which proved to be quite interesting. As it turns out,
my mother is, after all, of Irish descent, with a little Cherokee
thrown in for good measure.