One of the most iconic symbols of Ireland and St. Patrick's Day is the shamrock. The word "shamrock" comes from the Irish Gaelic word Seamrog, which means "little clover" and refers to the plant's three leaves.
According to legend St. Patrick made the shamrock famous by using the three-leaf clover to teach people about Christianity as he traveled throughout Ireland. He used the shamrock to visually illustrate the concept of the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) when trying to convert polytheistic pagans to Christianity.
For hundreds of years blue was the color of St. Patrick's Day. In the 1790's the shamrock and the color green became a symbol of Irish nationalism and independence from the British. Just wearing a shamrock in your lapel or green clothing was seen as a rebellious act against British authority and could be punishable by death. The phrase "wearing of the green" came from a street ballad which lamented the British repression.
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