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Friday, Sep. 30, 2016

Wear green today, red Friday

Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011, at 9:41 PM

Today is St. Patrick's Day.

Three of my coworkers jumped the gun and wore their green duds a day early.

Failure to repeat their wardrobe color choice could result in pinches. Apparently leprechauns like to pinch people, but can't see anything green, so a pinch is simply a friendly reminder of leprechauns.

But what about St. Patrick himself?

According to Christopher Cahill of the American Irish Historical Society, he didn't wear green.

"The color of St. Patrick, the traditional color associated with him was blue, not green," Cahill said in a History Channel special. "There's a particular shade of blue known as St. Patrick's blue. Green is a color that became associated with Ireland both because of the Emerald Isles -- the greenness of the landscape -- and also the shamrock, which St. Patrick (according to legend) used to explain the Trinity, became a symbol of Irish Catholic Nationalism."

Marion R. Casey, of the Glucksman Ireland House, added that wearing a shamrock in one's lapel has been a tradition for hundreds of years.

"Then when you had the united Irish uprising in 1778, they took that popular connection of a national saint and the wearing of the green and they applied that politically and translated that into garments. Their uniforms were green," she said.

Now green is synonymous with being Irish, whether in actuality, or just for the day.

Maybe it makes sense, then, that St. Patrick wasn't Irish. The same History Channel special points out that he was taken to Ireland as a slave from Britain in the 5th Century, escaped, became a priest and returned to convert the Irish to Catholicism, following a vision instructing him to do so.

Regardless of nationality or religion, everyone can share in "the wearing of the green."

Wearing red on Fridays, in honor of military personnel, is also becoming a tradition.

Nearly 850,000 Facebook users across the country are planning to take part in the event Friday.

"Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing red every Friday," reads a portion of the event's page. "The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority.' We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record-breaking numbers."

Also included on the page is a story of troops being honored in an airport and an exchange between a soldier and a little girl, whose Marine father is serving in Iraq.

For details of that story and more information about Red Fridays, visit www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=176090525....

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