Growing up in an Irish household, my mother made sure I knew the difference between a shamrock, a clover, and which of the two is most commonly linked to Ireland.
As today is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share my understanding….
Who is St. Patrick?
To comprehend the association of shamrocks with Ireland, we need to understand who St. Patrick was and his profound influence on the country.
Born in the late 4th century in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped by pirates at the age of 16 and brought to Ireland as a slave. He is credited with converting many parts of the country to Christianity and built schools, churches and monasteries. He is the primary saint of Ireland and he died on March 17, 461.
Shamrocks versus Clovers
Often, people get confused between Ireland’s symbol the Shamrock and the lucky four-leafed clover. Simply put, shamrocks have three leaves while clovers have four. All Shamrocks are considered clovers; however, clovers must have four leaves to be called a clover.
As part of his missionary work, it is thought that Saint Patrick used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity. Each leaf represents God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Ever since, the shamrock has been used as a symbol of Ireland and this identification is known all over the world. To read more, check out these books on the history of St. Patrick.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Mystical Living! ☘️