Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Proudly Wear Orange On St. Patrick's Day!

Some of you may know that I do not believe in wearing green on St. Patrick's Day, instead I wear orange. Orange, you ask? Well, I'm a leader, not a follower. I don't do something just because everyone else does it. I ask questions. So naturally, I asked "why do we wear green on St. Patty's Day"? After some research, I found out that it basically green = Catholic and orange = Protestant, and made my decision to stand out from the sea of green and show my Protestant pride.

I just beam when someone asks where my green gives me an opportunity to get on my soap box!

I didn't have anything orange to wear today that was appropriate for work so I am wearing black (but I do have on orange undies!!!). And I am proud to say that I have converted Christopher...he put on orange this morning without thinking twice (it's just coincidence that the Hokies are playing today).

Below is an article that explains the history behind it perfectly.

*On a side note, I do dress my boys in green at this time. Kids can be cruel and desperately want to fit in. So in the spirit of saving them from pinches, I dressed them in some green...coupled with orange (of course). When they are old enough, I will have this talk with them and let them decide for themself which color to sport on March 17th.

An Orange St. Patrick's Day?

This St. Patrick’s Day you’re likely to take part in that time honored tradition of wearing green. If not, you risk punishment-by-pinch, an especially popular custom on schoolyards and around office water coolers. Thus, wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is not only widely practiced, it’s virtually required. It’s hard to imagine the holiday without green.

But for a growing number of people, taking part in the fun means wearing orange. According to this increasingly popular tradition, Protestants wear orange, and the green clothing attire is left to Catholics. Thus, the color you wear is actually dependent on your religious denomination. Admittedly, this color tradition is not well known, but it has deep roots in Irish history.

Protestant Irish have been known as “orange” ever since 1690 when William of Orange (William III), the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, defeated King James II, a Roman Catholic, in the Battle of the Boyne near Dublin. William’s victory would ensure Protestant military dominance on the island and has been a source of tension ever since. Although the “Orange” in William’s name actually referred to a province in southern France, the color reference stuck. This is why orange now appears in the Irish flag – to symbolize the Protestant minority in Ireland.

Thus, “Orange Protestants” have been around for quite a while, but wearing the color on St. Patrick’s is a relatively new phenomenon. The first group to take part in the tradition appears to have been the Orange Institution, a Protestant fraternal organization more commonly known as the Orange Order. Some members of the order wore orange in various parades on St. Patrick’s Day as a mark of defiance.

Ironically, St. Patrick himself would have been surprised by all of the fuss. Patrick wasn’t even Irish; he came to Celtic Ireland as a British missionary. But more importantly, Patrick did most of his work in the 5th century at a time when Christians were simply Christians, long before any division between Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Therefore St. Patrick belongs to the whole church, not just Rome, and people of all colors and creeds should take part in the festivities. Yet for some Protestants, part of that fun involves wearing orange. So before the green-wearing Irish among you get into a pinching craze, think twice. Some of us wear orange for a reason.

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