Whether you saw them first on the cereal boxes at the store or learned about them in grade school, one of the most important visual aspects of St. Patrick’s Day is the Leprechaun. With people dressing up as these creatures and decorations based on these bearded men as well. You may even have memories of school teachers teaching you about them when you were young, attempting to catch the little bearded men to make the Irish holiday more exciting.
Leprechauns originally come from Irish folklore where they are referred to as a type of fairy. They are typically shown to be small bearded men, who wear a hat (sometimes resembling pilgrim hats). They are known to be mischievous beings that hide their pots of gold at the end of rainbows. In some stories if they are caught by humans they will grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom.
It is even stated by a few sources that these fairies wore red in their earliest mentions, before the color green was connected to the Irish during the 18th century. Or maybe it was the fact that green helped the small men blend into grass and leaves, making it easier for them to stash their gold and hide from the prying eyes of humans wishing to catch them.
The reason that we are supposed to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day is tied to Leprechauns as well, supposedly, wearing green makes you invisible to Leprechauns, who like to pinch anyone they see. Although the color is also supposed to bring people good luck and for some, honor their Irish ancestry.
So whether you want to celebrate your own Irish background or just pay homage to the holiday, Leprechauns are an important aspect in this. They bring fun stories for children and traditions for the holiday. May they be fact or fiction maybe it’s worth keeping a keen eye out around March 17th.