Today is St. Patrick's Day. I was made aware of this five minutes before leaving for work this morning. I was inhaling my breakfast as I was running a little bit late. My roommate calls to me from her room. Are you wearing green it's St. Patrick's Day? To which I responded that I was going to work and had no green on. She then told me I was asking to get pinched. Now, I am not a morning person so being told that I was in danger of being pinched because I had no green awakened my contrariness. I said something about it being stupid. Throughout the day, I wondered why we pinch people who aren't wearing green. I am not Irish, why should my not jumping in on the celebrations cause me to be pinched?
When I got home from work, I looked on the trusty internet for an explanation to this strange behavior. I found out that originally blue was the color associated with St. Paddy's Day. Several sites mentioned this, but no one said why it was later changed to green. I conjecture that because the shamrock was used by St. Patrick to explain the trinity to the Irish that eventually because as shamrock is green the color of choice changed as well. As to the whole pinching thing, several sites agreed that pinching is an American tradition going back to probably the 1700's. Apparently leprechauns cannot see green and would pinch anyone they could see. The pinch of a friend was to tactfully remind someone that they should be wearing green. As with other holidays that American's have adopted over the years, much like the international food we serve, we have changed the holiday to have its own American slant. When I was eight, I remember arriving at school just in time for my mom to remember the significance of the green holiday. Fortunately I had a green bow on my socks, more aqua but I made it work. It is a traumatizing thing worrying that you may be pinched by any number of people for your oversight.
My conclusion in all of this is: if natural born Irish don't pinch people not wearing green on the most widely known Irish holiday, then I think pinching shouldn't be inflicted on those who have chosen not to wear green or those that simply forgot.