The Lucky Story of the Original Shamrock
Saint Patrick’s Day is here and it’s time for a holiday history lesson! We know the mascot is a shamrock but. . . do we know anything else? What’s the story behind the original shamrock and its relation to the highly coveted four-leaf clover? Perhaps some of you well informed Irish lassies and blokes know! For the rest of us, we’ve done some research so we can all be better informed about the symbols, origins, and history of everybody’s favorite lushy holiday.
The word shamrock originates from the Irish word “seamrog” which means “little clover.” While there is some debate about “the original shamrock,” popular belief states it was a white clover – more formally, “trifolium repens” and was considered by the Celts to be a charm so lucky, it repelled dark spirits. Most sources agree, Saint Patrick originally used the clover in his travels across Ireland to encourage faith in Jesus and the Holy Trinity. He is said to have used the three leaves of the clover as a metaphor for the trinity – how it, too, is one whole made up of three parts – the father, the son and the Holy Ghost.
Four leaf clovers are their own beasts – mutated, recessive-gene-having, ultra lucky beasts? They dare to be different – 1 in 10,000 kind of different. . . so if you make it your mission this spring season to track them down, bring some Guinness and ballymaloe relish for sustenance – you might be pickin’ awhile! There are people who dedicate their lives to finding these treasures and have thousands of them – now that’s dedication! But there’s another kind of hunter, one you wouldn’t fancy meeting for a picnic in a clover field. These trappers are after the four-leaf clover’s more elusive sister – the five-leaf clover, aka the rose clover. Yes, they exist and so do six leaf clovers and beyond! Culturally, the first leaf is said to represent faith, the second hope, the third love and the fourth . . . luck!
So there you have it – a wee bit o’ lore. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day folks, friends, and leprechauns. We’ll leave you with one of our favorite Irish sayings:
“May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours. That stay with you all the year long.”
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