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St. Patrick's Day: Why do we wear green?

On St. Patrick's Day, a look at how three well-known traditions came to be.

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Three women wore green as they marched in Tokyo's St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday.

Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Newscom

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“There are only two kinds of people in the world,” an Irish saying goes. “The Irish and those who wish they were.”

But for 24 hours this Wednesday, that saying is a pot o’ blarney. This St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll all be Irish.

St. Patrick's Day was originally a Roman Catholic feast day for Ireland’s patron saint, celebrated only in Ireland since before the 1600s. But it evolved into a secular holiday in the 1700s, when Irish immigrants in the US held some of the first St. Patrick’s Day parades. More than a show of patriotism, the parades were an opportunity for Irish immigrants to make a political statement about their discontent with their low social status in America.

IN PICTURES: St. Patrick's Day parades around the world

Today, St. Patrick’s Day is a transcontinental celebration of Irish culture, replete with festive food and traditions. Ever wonder why we eat corned beef, wear green, and pinch our friends on St. Patrick’s Day? Read on to discover how three St. Patrick’s Day traditions came to be.

• Why green?

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