History of Ireland
Saint Patrick's Day
Word and Phrase Origins

What is the origin of the 'Wearing of the Green'?

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April 14, 2017 3:28PM

"The Wearing of The Green" was written by a Dubliner, Dion Boucicault (1820-1890). After America's revolution, the Irish thought it was time for their own independence. The color greem became a symbol of sympathy for Irish independence and the British actually began executing persons found wearing anything green. See the lyrics to the son on that web site, too. I haven't been able to verify this statement as fact and I can't find a more exact time-line for the writing of the song.

The song Wearing of the Green was made because Irish people would burn the color red because they hated England so British soldiers would shoot peolple wearing the color green.

"The wearing of the green" refers to the Irish green plaid on kilts and other items of clothing. The English considered this a sign of active nationalism or separatism and, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, methods of stopping that were simple. The attitude was, "If you are wearing the green, you are siding with the troublemakers, disturbing the equilibrium of our landowners and governors, ie., you are a terrorist and shall be dealt with".

"The Wearing of the Green" is a song that follows the tune of an O'carolan air, the origins of which are unknown. The lyrics were written to relate the British practice of hanging any Irishman/woman who wore green in a patriotic manner during a certiain Irish rebellion(as to which, I don't know). Many more sets of lyrics were written later on, including "Rising of The Moon", which relates the Rebellion of 1798. The tune was even present in Civil-War America, as "The Army of the Free".

The English would execute any irishman or irishwoman who was caught wearing green, or displaying green as a banner or flag, because the color green was used as a symbol of Irish patriotism, and supporters of the rebellion used it. The time of this was probably in the late 1770's through the mid 1790's. In 1798 the Irish finally rebelled against the English because of the tyranny and opression they faced every day by the hands of the English. .