Saint Patrick Blue: He Wasn't Always Green

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?