Singular Cerebrations: Happy Saint Patrick's Day
It's Saint Patrick's Day, and I really hope you'll check out last week's column about the origin of the holiday and its most iconic imagery, if you haven't already. Naturally, we've released a feature today in honor of the holiday. It's about the otherworldly origins of real-life Irish fairy music, and you can find it here. As always, I hope you like them, and please share your thoughts, feelings, and opinions on them both.
I was speaking earlier this week to my partner, Emily, about St. Patrick's Day traditions, and she surprised me by telling me about one family tradition that was completely new to me. It was called a leprechaun trap. She and her siblings would, as children, place small traps around the house to try and capture leprechauns on St. Patrick's Day. Her parents would wait until the children weren't looking, and set off the traps, leaving chocolate coins behind as their reward for "trapping the leprechaun."
"The most fun thing we did was make leprechaun traps," she told me. "I can't remember all the methods my three siblings and I used, but I can think of one example. I balanced a box upside down on building blocks, and expected a little fairy to be so dumb as to just walk into the blocks and knock the box over onto itself."
Apparently, the attempt met with little success. It's not surprising, really, based on leprechauns' reputation for cunning. It's said that you can capture one and force him to tell you where to find his treasure, but the moment you take your eyes off of the leprechaun he'll disappear.
"They always made it out of the traps, but left behind gold chocolate coins," Emily explained. "My brothers were bummed, as they wanted real gold"
As for Emily, she "just wanted a little leprechaun friend." I assume it's that intrepid friendliness towards the unknown that has her searching for monsters with me today. In any case, leprechauns probably don't make favorable companions, since their reputation as hardworking cobblers implies they probably haven't the time for such foolishness. They do have plenty of gold, however, since that same dedication lends itself well to collecting treasure.
I find it delightful that such a whimsical tradition still exists, and furthermore, that it so clearly stems from traditional folklore. So I'll be over here checking my leprechaun traps if anybody needs me, and I'm counting today as a win even if all it nets me are a few chocolate coins.
Yours in Impossibility,