Saint Patrick Blue: He Wasn't Always Green

By | March 14, 2020

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The altar at Saul Church before the annual Saint Patrick's Day service shows the patron saint of Ireland wearing a blue robe, not a green one. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

On Saint Patrick's Day, we wear green clothing, drink green beer, and watch as some prominent rivers are dyed green. The verdant color is, after all, the color of the Emerald Isle, so it must be associated with Saint Patrick, right? Wrong. Saint Patrick was originally associated with the color blue, not green, to the point that there's an entire shade named "Saint Patrick blue." So why do we celebrate Saint Patrick's Day with the wearing o' the green? 

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Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland. (

Who Was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in the fourth century CE to a Christian family living in Roman-held Britain. As a teen, he was kidnapped from his home and forced to work as a slave in Ireland, and although the circumstances left a lot to be desired, he learned to appreciate the beauty of the country.

After he escaped from his captors six years later and returned to his family, he studied to become a cleric and then became a bishop. He returned as a Christian missionary to the island of his ordeal, where he established a center for Christianity and became the patron saint of Ireland.