The Story of the Shamrock & The Wearing of the Green
The Shamrock (traditional spelling: seamróg, meaning summer plant) is a three-leafed clover that grows in Ireland. A common image in Celtic artwork, the shamrock is found on Irish medieval tombs and on old copper coins, known as St. Patrick's money. The plant is also reputed to have mystic, even prophetic powers-- for instance the leaves are said to stand upright to warn of an approaching storm.
Legend has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock in the fifth century to symbolize the divine nature of the trinity when he introduced Christianity to Ireland.
The seamróg is a big part of Irish history, as the Shamrock was used as an emblem by the Irish Volunteers in the era of Grattan's Parliament in the 1770's, The Act of Union. When it became an emblem of rebellion in the 19th century, Queen Victoria made wearing a seamrog by member's of her regiments punishable by death by hanging. It was during this dark time that the phrase "the Wearing of the Green" began. Today the seamróg joins the English Rose and the Scottish Thistle on the British flag and is an integral part of Saint Patrick's Day celebrations.
"The Wearing of the Green" also symbolizes the birth of springtime. Irish legend states that green clothes attract faeries and aid crops.