Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day: Who Were the Leprechauns, Originally?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My favorite part of St. Patrick's Day has always been the leprechauns.  Sure, we can talk about old St. Patrick himself... but let's be honest.  We care about the fun stuff... not some guy reputed to have driven snakes away from an island that never had them in the first place, right?

So let's talk about the good stuff.

Legend has it that at one time, the leprechauns were the tallest of the mound dwellers.  That's right... they were huge.  

Red Robed giant saying, "We will keep these safe for all time."  Tiny stick figures below shouting "Hooray!!!"

They were also entrusted with the ancient treasures of the Tuatha de Danann.  Leprechauns brought the Stone of Destiny, the Great Spear of Lugh, the Sword of Nuadhu, and the cauldron of the Daghdha to Ireland.

Then Christianity arrived at the Emerald Isles.  The importance of the leprechauns decreased, along with their stature.

Tiny leprechaun riding on the back of a sheep, holding a golden pot.

They became known as tiny creatures that rode sheep, goats, or even dogs, while wearing a red hat and jacket.  The solitary being would make shoes and grant wishes.

Then, to add insult to injury, his clothing was turned green, and he got stuck guarding a rusty pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Dejected leprechaun sitting on a rock, wearing green with a green hat, staring at a rusty pot at the end of the rainbow, saying, "Dude... seriously?"

Those poor leprechauns have been through a lot of abuse, so take pity on them.

Raise your mugs to the Mound Dwellers' former glory, and have a great St. Patrick's Day!

While you're at it... check out the National Leprechaun Museum, and learn all about the history of the leprechauns.  They really are fascinating!

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