Monday, March 15, 2010

Tuesday Trivia Tie-in # 4 -- Wearin O'the Green.

Welcome to Tuesday Trivia Tie-in. Each Tuesday readers are invited to share a blog post about one of their collection and a bit of related trivia.

My posts will be about one of my ties. This feature was inspired by a great deal I got on an entire rack of ties at a flea market. You can read all about it here.

It just wouldn't seem right to let St. Patricks Day go by without showing off another one of my cool St. Pat's ties.

So, in honor of that great Irishman, Paddy O'Finniture, this weeks' tie is my Happy St Patricks Day tie:

Like many of my Holiday Ties, it doesn't have any manufacturer or designer tags, so I just have to assume it was made by leprechauns in a small factory beneath the roots of a hollow tree in County Antrim, Ireland.

If anyone has any proof to the contrary, feel free to submit it and I will take it under consideration.

Until then, here is some other interesting information about Leprechauns:

Real Leprechauns are not as cute as we try to portray them.

A character in Irish folklore dating back to the 8th century — a wily shoemaking sprite who enticed people with untold riches and then cunningly snatched them away at the last moment —the leprechaun was transformed by advertisers and Hollywood producers in the 1950s and '60s into something altogether different: a gaudy, top-hat-wearing, pipe-smoking creature with a trademark piercing cry of "Top o' the morning!"

The leprechaun made popular by Lucky Charms commercials and movies and musicals like Darby O'Gill and the Little People and Finian's Rainbow may be beloved in places like the U.S., but not in Ireland. "It is a derogatory symbol from an Irish perspective," says Brian Twomey, head of marketing and communications for Ireland's tourism bureau. "It is certainly not something that we would use."

Source: Time/World article Irelands New Museum for Leprechauns by John O'Mahoney, Dublin Ireland.

"Most people in Ireland today do not seriously believe in leprechauns at all, however partial they may be to the idea of them. And there are those who find the whole subject embarrassing because it reminds them of aspects of the past they would rather forget. Which is fair enough really. Each to his own. Leprechauns themselves are quite happy with this state of affairs. It means there is that much less chance of being rudely interrupted while working away under the hedgerow by some great human eager to squeeze your treasure out of you. And it is easier to play tricks when your victim is unaware of your existence.

Because they are a kind of faery, leprechauns are often invisible. They may pass by as a swirl of dust, so in the old days men would raise their hats and women curtsey if a pillar of dust blew by, just in case. If you throw your left shoe at the cloud and it is really a leprechaun, he has to drop whatever he is holding, including any bags of gold; but if he is not holding anything, you may just gain his ill-will from it.

In the old days people would also leave out a dish of milk or fresh water at night for leprechauns, avoid cutting down hawthorn or whitethorn bushes, leave the dregs in their glasses when going to bed, and many other little courtesies to keep in with them. That so few people now take the trouble is the cause of endless bad luck which might otherwise be happily avoided."

Leprechaun Companion by Niall MacNamara

And finally a bit of background on the traditional Wearing of The Green:

The colors of the Republic of Ireland are a tricolor of green, white, and orange.

The orange supposedly represents the Protestant population, the green the Catholic, and the white the peace between them. One of the reasons that one wears green on St. Patrick's Day is because the Catholic sector of Ireland is identified with green, and St. Patrick is a Catholic Saint.

The traditional pinching of a person who wears orange on St. Patrick's Day is symbolic of the violence that so often occured in the past between the Catholics and Protestants.

That tradition, at least in the US, has morphed into a general pinching of anyone not wearing green. The symbolism behind it is largely forgotten and it is just a fun excuse to give someone a friendly pinch.

In todays Ireland there is actually very little preference to green at the parades, maybe a few novelty hats but not much more. Wearing green, green beer etc. is more of an American tradition than Irish, although of course on St. Patrick's day everyone is Irish.

So, wear the green, avoid the pinches, and have a safe and happy St. Patricks Day!

Ok, Now it's your turn. Enter your link below. Make sure you link to your post and not just your main blog.

Be sure and join me each Tuesday for Tuesday Trivia Tie-in, where readers are invited to share trivia and show off their treasures.

For a complete list of the rules, click here.


  1. Hi!
    Beautiful Tie! I never knew so much about St. Patrick's Day. Thanks for all the info. Have a great day!

    A View of My Life

  2. Wow - such things you can learn here at your blog! I wonder - about the throwing of the shoe - why do people throw shoes at Politicians, then? Are they actually trickster politicians, trying to steal our riches??? tee hee!

  3. Okay, no leprechauns are allowed in our house. but, I am looking for a couple of good House elfs!