If you’re the kind of person that loves culture, vibrancy, eclecticism and a heck load of color, you’ll love Ireland. Yep, Ireland is one of the most impressive countries in the world – and alongside their love for Guinness, the color green, and traditional music, the Irish also have a love for their folklore. As a country shrouded in mythical stories and mythical beings, it’s no secret that the Leprechaun is a symbol most associated with Ireland (especially on St. Paddy’s day). So, say top o’ the mornings to this trickster fairy, and check out all of the info you could possibly need on Leprechauns…
What is a Leprechaun?
If you’re not up to date on your Irish symbols, you might not really know what a Leprechaun is. Well, let’s break it down for you! The name itself comes from the Irish leiprechán which means a ‘pigmy, a sprite, or leprechaun’ – which doesn’t really help us out too much, but this word has paved the way for numerous other spellings and etymologies that lead us towards the modern Leprechaun we all know and (kinda) love today. In Irish folklore (or Aos Sí), the Leprechaun is described as a type of fairy, small, bearded men who wander around the mythical lands. Most of the time, they are depicted in a green coat and top hat. Although they may look adorable, symbolize luck and have a penchant for mending shoes, they are also notorious for being mischievous creatures.
Where did they come from?
It may seem like the modern Leprechaun has been a part of Irish culture for millennia, but this isn’t the case. The first known reference to the mischievous creature appeared in the medieval tale of the King of Ulster, Fergus mac Léti. In this story, the King falls asleep on the beach and wakes to find that he has been dragged into the sea by three Leprechauns. Amazingly, the King overpowers the creatures, and the Leprechauns offer three wishes in exchange for their freedom. This image has been transferred into modern-day theories, as it’s believed those who greet a Leprechaun will be granted three wishes. What would you wish for?
What about the pot of gold?
When you think of Leprechauns, you might think of rainbows and pots of gold. It’s commonly held that Leprechauns are the proprietors of gold coins. They find them hidden beneath the earth, and keep them safe in a pot at the end of the rainbow. Although this might sound enticing for those who have little money, or a need for greed, finding the gold isn’t as easy as it may seem. This is mainly because there is no end of a rainbow. Instead, rainbows are circular with no fixed point and look different to every person.
Have they always been the same?
Nowadays, we know the Leprechaun as a green creature, who loves gold and loves to trick its victims. However, the Leprechaun hasn’t always been this way. In more traditional Irish folklore, Leprechauns wore red outfits and tr9-cornered hats. However, with modern-day interpretation in film and other media, it seems as if the little green man is here to stay…
When you think of Irish culture, you might think of the notorious Leprechaun. Yet, we bet you didn’t know all of the history and symbolism of these creatures…