But how did the shamrock become the symbol for St. Patrick’s Day?
Long before the commercialization of St. Patrick’s Day, the shamrock was considered a sacred plant in Christianity. Legend has it that Saint Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate the fundamental concept of the Holy Trinity to the pagans. He explained that just like the shamrock, the Holy Trinity is made up of 3 parts: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And because the shamrock grew abundantly all over the country and was a beloved plant, St. Patrick was able to bring many pagans to Christianity.
As it is a custom for Christians to commemorate the passing of a saint, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, the day of his death. The shamrock became associated with St. Patrick and all things good.
That being said, the shamrock hasn’t always been a symbol for good luck. In the 19th century, the shamrock became a symbol for rebellion. Those that wore it were against English rule. Anyone caught wearing one could be punished.
Today, the shamrock has mostly lost its religious connotations. However, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, many will wear green or even a shamrock, to show support for Ireland, even if they aren’t Irish. Even better if you can find a rare four-leaf clover, as they are considered good luck!
- How to Grow Shamrock (growerdirect.com)