Many people wonder how the tradition of pinching people who don’t wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day got started.
For that answer we take you to 9th century Ireland and the streets of Dublin. The law of the land was very loose. People were stealing leprechauns gold, robbing people of their worldly possessions, robbing horses of their horsely possessions and jaywalking without fear of prosecution. Things were out of control and the King of Ireland knew he had to take action.
“We have got to do something to restore order to this land!” The King declared.
“How about we build prisons?” One of his servants suggested.
“How about we yell at people?” another servent suggested.
“I hate both of your ideas,” the King said, getting up from his throne. “I shall retire to my chambers. Leave me be for three days. When I return, I shall have the solution to our problems.
And so the King retired to his chambers. Three minutes passed by.
“Servants!” The King shouted, “It is too lonely in my chambers. Let’s just let people pinch those who do bad things.
The servants let out a cry of approval.
“We approve!” they cried.
And so the law was declared and almost immediately it rose to popularity. At first people were pinched for stealing horses, jaywalking and adultery. Then things got more extreme.
People were pinched for looking at people wrong, for looking at people right, for not eating breakfast, for eating breakfast, for not wearing green, for not wearing red, for wearing too many articles of clothing etc.
Eventually, the painful pinches turned into even more painful horse pinches.
A month passed and the entire land was bruised and angry.
“We have got to change this law!” the King declared.
Just then, one of the King’s servants reached over and pinched the King.
“Ah!” The King shouted in pain. He then turned and punched the servant in the face.
“I hearby declare that pinching is illegal, under penalty of punching!”
And so the book keepers immediately made the change to the law, but soon the entire town was depressed. They missed taking the law into their own fingers. They begged the King for just one day a year to pinch people.
And so the King allowed one day, March 17th, to pinch people, in honor of Saint Patrick.
He also allowed one day to punch people in the face, on February 14th, Valentines day in honor of Saint Valentine.
While pinching people who don’t wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day remains popular in the United States, punching people in the face is still extremely popular in Ireland.
I think that if someone says “please don’t pinch me” that needs to be respected.
I always enjoy a good history lesson.