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Orange is symbolic of Irish Protestants while green is symbolic of Irish Catholics. On the Irish flag, there is an orange stripe, a green stripe and a white stripe. The orange is for the Protestants, the green is for the Catholics and the white is for the hope of peace between the two.

"Blue was the traditional color worn by Saint Patrick, green traditionally would represent the Catholics, and orange would represent the Protestants. The Irish flag, as you could guess has green, orange, and white to represent peace between the two. There is a long, and ugly history, which is better off not being discussed on a celebration of a Christian saint, orange is Irish Christian, green is Irish Christian, Saint Patrick is a Irish saint. If one chooses to wear orange, but isn't a bigot, like, to honor their family, let them. I choose to wear something green and something orange. Usually an orange tie and green shirt" - A freethinker with an Irish catholic mom and a Irish protestant dad.

In Ireland the Catholics wear Green to honor St Patrick. Recognize that Orange vs Green is a political statement in Ireland. Protestants wear orange.

By making a big deal out of the green, we're effectively taking sides on the Irish dispute.

Some have been heard to say, "I am neither Irish nor am I Catholic." Those people wear the orange.

There is also a legend about a magistrate of a small town in western Scotland in the 1690's. Every St. Patrick's day he would respond to local inns and taverns to Bar fights between visiting Irishmen and local Scots. The standard punishment was a night in jail for all involved - but the fights would often continue in the jail. A local governor suggested to the magistrate to pass the word amongst the Scottish people to wear a thistle flower on their person if they went out that night (thistle flowers are orange - this also was a show of loyalty to William III, also known as William of orange, a protestant king of Great Britain) so that the magistrate could jail the rowdy Irishmen and send the local Scots home, thus avoiding fights in the jail.

I myself do not wear green nor orange on Saint Patrick's Day because either colour worn on that day would show an allegiance to one side or the other of this stupid rivalry between the Catholics (green) and the Protestants (orange). These two camps have been murdering each other (and innocent bystanders) for hundreds of years. It is totally sick.

If you think I am wrong, try wearing the wrong colour at one side or another's parade or football game in Britain and see what a "Christian" does to you. It's no different or better than the Crips verses the Bloods, or the Hell's Angels verses the Banditos. It's just as stupid but has been going on for much longer. And no amount of justifying the violence for one side or the other makes it right.

Wearing green or orange on that day would be like! being in Africa and wearing something that identified oneself! with ei ther the Hutu or Tutsi tribes in Africa which have been hacking each other to death on and off for decades. Who would want to identify with either side?

You could wear their colours, but when you know what has been associated with the whole thing, why would you want to?

Additional information on colors and St Patrick's Day (by ninth1der):

During the 1st through 5th centuries during the Roman Empire expansion into Gaul and other Celtic lands, the Druids were not completely included into the new oligarchy. Julius Caesar in the first century even campaigned against them. Tiberius even passed laws of prohibition against practicing druidism. However early writing at the time gave very high social standing to these "priests." Their ceremonial dress often included green and purple.

The rise of the Catholic Church and eventual turn of the Roman Empire into the Holy Roman Empire where the Pope because more powerful than the Caesars re! sulted in what became known as the Spanish Inquisition (as the power center moved from Rome to Spain). As the Catholic Church worked to eradicate the other religions (Paganism, Druidism, Judaism, Islam, and eventually Protestantism) the Pagans and especially the Druids began to use purple dyed clothes and purple face paints in their usually defensive skirmishes. Thus from the 12th century until the late 18th century, purple stained faces and fingers and clothes became to be associated with paganism.

The purple dye came from woad, and the indigo process was usually associated with lower classes due to the smell of the process and the health hazards. By the 13th century the travails of "miller's blue" were subject of laws and eventually reforms in thew 19th century industrial revolution.

Roughly one can make the argument that the Irish flag shows the religious separation of the country: green = Catholic, orange = Protestant. Purple is not present but would represent the pagans. Wearing purple on St. Patrick's Day is a rather obscure tradition in Wiccan and other pagan observances.

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Q: Why do some people on St. Patrick's Day wear orange instead of green?
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