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St. Patrick’s Day Colors & Their Meanings, History and Symbolism

This March 17, you’re likely to see lots of green, but did you know there are actually several St. Patrick’s Day colors? Each color has its own meaning, which is deeply rooted in Irish history.

Green is by far the most popular of the St. Patrick’s colors. However, the original color associated with the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, was blue!

Keep reading to learn the meanings of all the St. Patrick’s Day colors and how they came to be associated with this holiday.

Plus, make sure to get a free St. Patrick’s Day coloring page printable at the bottom of this post. It’s a fun activity to celebrate this day that the kids will love!

If you’d like to learn about the colors of other holidays and their meanings make sure to check out this Valentine’s Day colors guide and this colors of Mardi Gras guide.

An Irish flag which features St Patricks colors with faint shamrocks over the whole image and text that reads: learn the history and meanings of the St Patrick's Day colors.

The importance of colors

Colors have a long history of conveying special meanings, messages, ideas and emotions. These messages can appear in bouquets of flowers, the television we watch, the decor of places we visit, the holidays we celebrate, and more!

In the 19th century, people would communicate with floriography which is also known as the language of flowers. They understood the importance of colors and would send coded flower arrangements.

In these flower arrangements each variety and color of flowers used had special meanings that the recipients would decipher using a floral dictionary.

While we may not consciously use floriography when buying a bouquet of roses in modern times, it is commonly accepted that each color of roses has a different meaning.

A wheel of the psychology of colors with emotions written in each color, showing the importance of color in influencing emotion.

Colors are also used to evoke emotions by filmmakers, artists, advertisers, and designers. Every color of the rainbow is thought to illicit a certain emotion and is therefore carefully chosen in art and advertising.

The importance of colors isn’t limited to floriography, advertising and art. Colors also hold special importance on holidays, and the St. Patrick’s Day colors are no exception.

What are the St. Patrick’s Day colors

If you’re out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, you’re likely to see the majority of people celebrating dressed in green. This is because the color green is one of the seven symbols of St. Patrick’s Day

In addition to St. Patrick’s Day being represented by symbols, there are also four St. Patrick’s Day colors with special meaning this time of year.

The four St. Patrick’s Day colors are green, blue, orange and white. Three of these St. Patrick’s colors are even appear as colors of the Irish flag (green, white and orange).

A square that is made up of the colors of the Irish flag with faint shamrocks all over the image, a dotted border around the edges and a large shamrock in the center of the image.

While green is the color most frequently associated with the holiday the other St. Patrick’s colors still have special meanings.

As St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of both Saint Patrick and Ireland, some of the St. Patrick’s Day colors tie directly to the patron saint, while others are more representative of Ireland itself.

St. Patrick’s blue color meaning

In modern images of Saint Patrick, the patron saint and apostle of Ireland is shown dressed in green.

However, the earliest image of Saint Patrick shows him wearing blue robes. In this portrait, Saint Patrick is meeting the High King of Ireland, who is dressed in red.

The image appears in Legenda Aurea, a 13th century French manuscript by Jacobus de Voragine. This manuscript contains stories of many saints, including Saint Patrick.

While this is the earliest example of Saint Patrick in blue, the color blue’s connection to Saint Patrick extends further than the 13th century. 

An older style depiction of Saint Patrick where he is wearing a robe in the color called "St Patrick's blue" hinting to the religious blue color meaning during St. Patrick's Day.

In 1783, King George III, King of Great Britain and Ireland established an order of chivalry called The Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick. The color chosen to represent The Order of Saint Patrick was a sky blue named St. Patrick’s blue.

Another order of chivalry called The Most Noble Order of the Garter was represented by a darker blue, so St. Patrick’s blue was chosen to differentiate The Order of Saint Patrick from The Order of The Garter.

The meaning of the color blue in Ireland

In addition to St. Patrick’s Day blue being the color of The Order of Saint Patrick, and the color in which this patron saint was first depicted, the meaning of the color blue is also tied to English rule in Ireland.

King Henry VIII of England assumed the throne in 1509. He tightened his control on Ireland in 1542 when the Irish Parliament passed the Crown of Ireland Act.

This act created the title “King of Ireland” for Henry VIII (who previously ruled as “Lord of Ireland”) and all of his successors. Ireland also changed from the “Lordship of Ireland” to the “Kingdom of Ireland”.

The Irish coat of arms, given to The Order of Saint Patricks by King Henry VIII consisting of an azure blue shield with a golden harp and silver strings with the sound board on the right.

Henry VIII marked this occasion with a coat of arms for Ireland that used the color blue. It featured a blue background with a gold harp, which has long been a symbol of Ireland. 

The design of a blue background with a golden harp can still be seen in Ireland on the presidential standard flag and the Constitution of Ireland.

The meaning of the color green

In the 18th century, tension between the British crown and the Irish Nationalists was growing. As the color blue represented the British, the color had become tainted.

This prompted a switch in favor from the color blue to green in Ireland.

Irish Nationalists were trying to distance themselves from the crown. They believed Ireland should be a sovereign entity and not under English rule.

A rectangle consisting of stripes of various shades of green, with the darkest one on the left, moving lighter as they stripes move to the right.

During the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the color green became a symbol of Irish Nationalism. Irish Nationalists wore green uniforms, and Irish citizens wore green ribbons and shamrocks on their lapels to show Irish loyalty and pride.

The color blue began to fade away, and green became the color associated with Irish pride and Ireland. Images of Saint Patrick began to depict the patron saint wearing green instead of blue. 

St. Patrick’s green color meaning

Irish pride and loyalty are not the only reasons you’ll see green on St. Patrick’s Day. The color green also represents Saint Patrick and the island of Ireland. It even has a special place in mythology about leprechauns.

The meaning of the color green has been tied to Saint Patrick since he came to Ireland in the 5th century as a missionary to evangelize the Irish.

During this time, he used shamrocks as a teaching tool, assigning religious meaning to each of its three leaves. The shamrock leaves represented The Father, The Son and The Holy Sprit.

A shamrock with the Holy Trinity inside of it, with The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit each on one leaf, hinting towards the St Patrick's Day green color meaning's connection to religion and the Christian teachings of Saint Patrick.

The use of the shamrock in his Christian teachings linked not only the shamrock, but also the color green, to the patron saint. In images of Saint Patrick, he is often seen holding a green shamrock in one hand and a golden staff called the Bachal Isu in the other. 

The meaning of the color green is also tied to the entire island of Ireland, which is often referred to as the Emerald Isle. The first instance of Ireland being called the Emerald Isle dates back to a poem called When Erin First Rose written in 1795 by William Drennan.

In leprechaun folklore, the color green is magical. It’s believed that if a person wears St. Patrick’s green, it will make them invisible to leprechauns. This is a good thing, because lore says leprechauns pinch anyone they can see.

If you’re interested in learning more about leprechauns, make sure to check out these leprechaun facts.

Irish flag colors meaning

Green also has special meaning as one of the colors of the Irish flag. This tricolor flag has three pales of equal size in the colors green, white and orange. The green pale on the Irish flag goes next to the flagstaff.

Each of the Irish flag colors have religious symbolism. Green represents the dominant Catholic population in Ireland, orange represents the Protestant minority and white represents hope for lasting peace between the two. 

A tricolor Irish flag composed of the Irish flag colors, in order: green, white and orange vertical stripes of equal size attached to a flagstaff, blowing in the wind.

The color orange was chosen to represent the Protestants because they were supporters of King William III of England, Ireland and Scotland, also known as William of Orange. As a staunch Protestant himself, he became an important Protestant figure. 

The word “Orange” in his title refers not to a color, but to a location. William of Orange was born as the Prince of Orange, a principality located in what is now southern France. 

The National Flag of Ireland (often referred to as the Irish Tricolor) was first flown on March of 1848. It was also flown again at the General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin during the Easter Rising of 1916.

After this, the Irish Tricolor was adopted as the flag of the Irish Free State in 1922. It was then confirmed as the official flag of Ireland in the 1937 Constitution of Ireland.

White and orange color meanings on St. Patrick’s Day

Many of the St. Patrick’s Day colors and symbols seen on March 17th celebrate more than just Saint Patrick. After all, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just about the patron saint, it’s also about Irish pride.

While you won’t likely see white and orange on St. Patrick’s Day in the same frequency that you’ll see green during this holiday celebration, orange and white are still important St. Patrick’s Day colors. 

You’ll most likely see green, orange and white together on the Irish flag, as the Irish flag colors are an important symbol of hope for peace and a unity between the people of Ireland. 

Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day

It’s no secret that the most popular of St. Patrick’s Day colors is green. So go ahead and wear St. Patrick’s Day green this March 17th!

Two men wearing green on St. Patrick's Day giving thumbs up with green top hats inspired by leprechauns on their heads.

No matter why you choose to wear green, to escape pinching, to be invisible to leprechauns, to show Irish loyalty and pride, to honor the religious history of Ireland, as an homage to the Emerald Isle, or just for fun, you certainly won’t be alone.

With all these St. Patricks green color meanings, you’ll see the hue in more than just clothing. It appears frequently in pints of beer, holiday decorations, and even fills the Chicago river, which as been dyed green since 1962.

It is present in images of leprechauns and Saint Patrick. You’ll see it during St. Patrick’s Day parades where people wear shamrocks wave Irish flags.

Now that you know the history of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day, you can wear it with pride!

How to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day colors

It’s time to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day colors now that you understand their meanings. The most obvious way to celebrate is by wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day, but below we’ve got a few more suggestions.

A St Patrick's Day word search and word scramble for St Patrick's Day with a banner over them with instructions to download the free word puzzles.

Some of the links below are affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.  

St. Patrick’s Day crafts using St. Patrick’s colors

Did you enjoy learning about St. Patrick’s colors? Here are some DIY crafts for St. Patrick’s Day that use green, white, orange and blue for you to enjoy!

Two St. Patrick's Day crafts sitting on a table, on the left is a leprechaun hat table centerpiece and on the right is an Irish blessing printable quote for St. Patrick's Day.

Try these St. Patrick’s Day recipes 

If you liked learning the history of St. Patrick’s Day colors, try making one of these delicious recipes for St. Patrick’s Day below to celebrate.

A St. Patrick's Day recipe featuring four leprechaun hat cookies made from girl scout cookies, marshmallows and chocolate on a white plate with a St. Patrick's Day napkin and stickers beside it.

Share this post explaining the St. Patrick’s colors with your friends on twitter:

If you enjoyed learning the meaning and history of the four St. Patrick’s Day colors, don’t forget to share them with your friends. Here’s a tweet to get you started:

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Looking for more fact-based posts?

If you enjoyed learning the meaning of the color orange, green, white and blue for St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to also check out these other holiday trivia posts to learn more fun facts about some of your favorite things! 

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If you enjoyed learning the history in this post, make sure to check out our fun facts section. It has information about national days of the year, holidays and more!

Pin this post on the four St. Patrick’s Day colors for later

Would you like a reminder of this post explaining the St. Patrick’s colors, their meanings and history? Just pin this image to one of your trivia boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

A green background with four leaf clovers and shamrocks filling the bottom of the image and text at the top that reads: Learn the meanings of the St. Patrick's Day colors - St Patrick's Day blue color meaning, symbolism of the Irish flag colors, St Patricks green color meaning, wearing green on St Patrick's Day and get a free St. Patrick's Day coloring page.

Yield: 1 Coloring Sheet

St. Patrick's Day Coloring Page

A square that is made up of the colors of the Irish flag with faint shamrocks all over the image, a dotted border around the edges and a large shamrock in the center of the image.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year with a free St Patrick's Day coloring page printable.

You can use colored pencils, crayons or markers to fill complete this free printable.

Many of the items you will see in this St. Patrick's Day coloring sheet are symbols of the holiday, like shamrocks, leprechauns and the harp!

You can color this printable coloring page with any colors you like! We recommend using the St Patricks Day colors: blue, green, orange and white!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • Computer paper
  • Colored Pencils


  • Computer
  • Printer


  1. Load your computer paper into your Deskjet printer.
  2. Choose portrait layout and if possible "fit to page" in your settings.
  3. Print the free St. Patrick's Day coloring page.
  4. Using colored pencils, markers or crayons, color this St. Patrick's Day coloring sheet printable using any colors you like!


    Using this print function on this card will make a St. Patrick's Day printable coloring page that fills about 3/4 of an 8 x 11 sheet of paper.

    To fill the entire page, choose "fit to page" on your printer if you have this setting, or use the link in the post above and print using the browser print feature.

    A St. Patrick's Day coloring pages showing the symbols of St Patrick's Day and text reading "St. Patrick's Day" at the top of the St Patricks Day coloring sheet.

    Jess author photoAbout the author

    Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.

    FACT CHECK: Our editorial staff aims to be accurate and fair in all posts. If you see something that doesn’t appear correct, please click here to contact us. Always the Holidays reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. 

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    Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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