Leprechaun Day is a holiday that is observed annually on May 13th and celebrates the small supernatural beings that walked right out of Irish folklore and into the hearts of millions of people around the world. Although Irish folklore is filled with fantastical monsters and beings such as the Banshee, Kelpie, Fear Gorta, Pooka, and Changeling, the leprechaun is by far the most well-known being outside of Ireland.
These beings were once only mentioned in cautionary mythological stories, but they can be found in all different types of media nowadays. They are used as mascots for pubs, can be found on cereal boxes, and even have their own 6-film franchise of horror movies. Needless to say, the leprechaun has never been more popular than it is today, which makes this a perfect time to celebrate this holiday.
The History Of Leprechaun Day
Unfortunately, we were unable to uncover the history of Leprechaun Day. It appears to be a holiday that has been lost to the tides of time. And that’s unfortunate because we really wanted to find out when this holiday was first invented and why it was invented.
All that we can do is speculate that it was probably invented as a holiday to extend the celebration of Irish culture that has grown around St. Patrick’s Day. Of course, this is only speculation on our part, so if anyone knows who invented this holiday or when it became an official holiday, they should feel free to shoot us a message.
Although the origins of this holiday elude us, we’re quite familiar with the history of the leprechaun. They can be traced back to 8th-century tales of water spirits that were known at the time as “Luchorpán,” a word that means “small body.”
Over time, these stories would merge with stories of fairies, particularly household fairies, and suddenly they were no longer water spirits but creatures that ended up drinking up the household’s supply of liquor.
Eventually, the word Luchorpán would give way to the word “Leprechaun,” which comes from the Irish word “Leath Bhrogan” and means someone who makes shoes. In most Irish folklore tales, the leprechaun is a rogue who uses his store of gold to deceive people and trick humans.
These stories persisted for hundreds of years in Ireland and were brought with Irish immigrants to other parts of the world with Irish emigration during the 19th and 20th centuries. As this folkloric creature was absorbed into the great pop culture in the United States, it underwent somewhat of a transformation.
It would become the symbol of Lucky Charms cereal, and end up in a variety of cartoons, movies, and television series. Although the modern depiction of the leprechaun is that of a diminutive man dressed entirely in green, this being was described in Irish folklore as a being that wore red outfits with tri-cornered hats.
And even though pop culture references sometimes reference female leprechauns, it should be noted that in Irish folklore, female leprechauns didn’t exist and it’s not clear how, or if, leprechauns reproduce.
Observing Leprechaun Day
On this day, we predict that different people will have different ways of observing this holiday. Some people may try to hunt down a leprechaun and steal their pot of gold, although that’s never an advisable thing to do. Other people will try to protect their homes from leprechauns.
Traditionally, this has been done by stringing up bells or leaving a bundle of liquor in the cellar that the leprechaun can steal. People should make sure to leave enough alcohol for these mythical beings because it’s been said that they are heavy drinkers.
Turning your clothing inside out, sprinkling salt around the home, or leaving blocks of iron in the corners of the home are other ways of warding off leprechauns. Another way for people to observe this holiday is to celebrate the leprechaun. They can do this by wearing green, or if they’re traditionalists, wearing red outfits and tri-cornered hats.
People can also enjoy green pancakes, green beer, Colcannon with soda bread, or enjoy some hot Guinness beef stew. Celebrants of this day can also enjoy corned beef and cabbage, but since they are likely going to be eating this dish on St. Patrick’s Day, they might not want to indulge too much. People can also spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #LeprechaunDay on social media.