Happy March 17th! No, I did not say Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Most of you will be joining in the various types of celebrations or means of commemorating this annual “holiday.” The most visible means of lending support or expressing solidarity with this holiday is “the wearing of the green.”
Of course that is followed by green hair, green beer, green water fountains, and green shamrocks. Most folks, who think about today, will get up and browse through their closets looking for something green to wear; from underwear to outerwear. The funny thing to me is that most folks don’t know what they are “conveying” by the “wearing of the Green.”
As I get up this morning, among the many things tasks of the day, I will do two things. First, I will rummage around my closet looking for something white to wear today. Secondly, I will call my youngest daughter Stacy and wish her happy 28th birthday!
Now, you ask, why will you wear white? And What does the wearing of the green mean? Glad you asked, let me fill you in.
Since 1691 Ireland had been ruled by Protestant forces of the British Empire. Ireland had tried to put off this rule for years. Ireland was Catholic in faith and resented the protestant rule of England.
In 1798 the “Irish Rebellion” broke out in an attempt to win Catholic freedom. The wearing of a green shamrock in one’s hat was a sign of support or solidarity with the Catholic forces (Society of United Irishman) trying to overthrow the Protestant rule.
Unfortunately, the protestant regime of Britain responded with horrible tactics of murder, torture, wrongful imprisonment. I deplore the tactics of my “so-called Protestant” predecessors" and in no way support either their British rule over Ireland or forced imposition of Protestantism while suppressing Catholic freedom.
By the way, the wearing of green and the shamrock in the hat was a hanging offense. This was a very painful time during Ireland’s history. That is why if one is found not wearing “green” they are pinched. This way they can feel the pain of this oppression.
Where does the white come in? Orange is symbolic of Irish Protestants while green is symbolic of Irish Catholics. On the Irish flag, there is an orange stripe, a green stripe and a white stripe. The orange is for the Protestants, the green is for the Catholics and the white is for the hope of peace between the two.
The orange on the Irish flag stands for the Protestants widely known as Orangemen in Ulster after William of Orange. They dress in Orange for the day if they celebrate it.
Since, I am not catholic nor do I sympathize in any way with catholic dogma (theology) I choose not to wear green. However, as a “protestant” (I am really a baptistic non-denominationalist rather than “protestant”) I do not condone as I have said the behavior of the “Orangeman.”
The last few years, however, after learning the distinction and purpose of the colors green and orange, I took to wearing orange. I loved it when people who had no clue as to why everyone was suppose to wear “green” asked me why I was wearing orange.
However, this year, I realized something as I visited this subject again, I had forgotten about the third color on the Irish flag, white. I am going to wear white today to symbolize my solidarity and support for peace in this still war torn country.
I have no plans to dye my hair green or orange. Nor do I think I will put green or orange food coloring in my Merlot tonight. Regardless of what color my daughter wears today, I still am going to call her and tell here happy birthday and how much I love her.