Leprechaun and Other Wee Folk Etiquette

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Or lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh if you speak Gaelic, which I do not.

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day, you often think of how crazy it was that your kindergarten teacher made you create leprechaun traps out of construction paper that magically had chocolate coins in them the next morning. In Ireland, they traditional take leprechauns and the other wee folk a bit more seriously.

If you are walking along and hear a gentle tapping, there might just be a leprechaun nearby cobbling some shoes. It is perfectly approved by etiquette to try to catch a leprechaun if you can, but once you catch him, there are three important things to remember:

  1. Always look a leprechaun in the eye, it is polite and it forces him to tell you the truth about where his gold is.
  2. Never take your eyes off of him: leprechauns are extremely fast and if you look away for one second, he will escape.
  3. Don’t be too greedy: if you catch a leprechaun, you can ask for a pot of gold, but just the one.

If you live in a place where there are elves and fairies and such, it is polite to leave some bread and milk outside for them each night.

It is also impolite to build your house on a fairy path- if you do, your whole family will get sick.

For real though, it’s not okay to pinch someone, even if they DO forget to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday is no excuse for being drunk and obnoxious in public either, so cut it out and have a happy and safe day!

Victoria Pratt was a competitive Irish dancer back in the day and will dance a reel for you if you ask nicely.

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