This coming March 17, observed as St. Patrick's Day, it's not uncommon to hear plenty of talk about Irish luck, traditions, and superstitions. Sure, most folks probably celebrate the holiday without giving too much serious thought to its historical roots. But, if you're anything like I am about random trivia, you don't mind exploring the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. Since reproduction, the month of March, and Irish folklore share many common threads, you might not be surprised to know there are old wives tales about being conceived on St. Patrick's Day and related, significant times.
You don't have to be pregnant — or born on the exact same day as the gregarious and green celebration — to enjoy the interesting and sometimes peculiar myths that Irish culture has to offer. At the bare minimum, knowing what some of the ancient Celts believed about conception and pregnancy could help you out in a St. Patrick's Day trivia party. At the most, you'll be inspired to learn more about how these superstitions originated and how they evolved over time, and it could be fun to think about how they compare to any babies you know who were conceived on St. Patty's day. Either way, you can learn some old wives tales about being conceived on St. Patrick's Day to have in your "random knowledge" repertoire.
1. Greenery Brings Good Luck
It's no surprise that green is virtually synonymous with St. Patrick's Day. But have you ever wondered why? As it turns out, "the official color of the Order of St. Patrick, part of Ireland’s chivalry, was a sky blue." reported Reader's Digest. "One of the reasons green replaced blue was because of Ireland’s nickname, The Emerald Isle." On top of that, "St. Patrick used green shamrocks to teach people about the Holy Trinity." So it makes sense that plenty of Irish folklore has to do with green things.
Researcher Dáithí Ó hÓgáin noted in Irish Superstitions: Irish Spells, Old Wives’ Tales and Folk Beliefs that the Celts believed hardy greenery that survives the winter, like mistletoe, brought fertility and good fortune to women who wore it or kept it near to them. So if your little one is conceived with plenty of greenery nearby on St. Patrick's day, the Irish would wish you well as your whole family will be full of luck.
2. Dairy And Alcohol Mix Creates Energy
If you're not too familiar with the patron saints of Ireland, don't worry. RTÉ, the official website of Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland's National Public Service Broadcaster, recently noted that St. Brigid is the female patron saint of Ireland and is often seen as the equivalent of St. Patrick. Interestingly enough, both of their respective holidays celebrate spring, new beginnings, and bountiful fortune. Often, the folklore about St. Brigid and St. Patrick overlap. For example, a recent article from BBC America about Irish traditions on St. Patrick's Day noted that drinking a mixture of milk and beer, symbolic of life and fertility, would ensure a pregnancy full of energy and without pain. The mixture kind of sounds gross, but who knows? It couldn't hurt to try this mixture for yourself if you plan on trying to conceive on St. Patty's Day this year.
3. The Moon Boosts Fertility
It just so happens that this year, the new moon and St. Patrick's Day both fall on March 17, according to Earth Sky. Why is that such great news? It all has to do with how the Celts interpreted the phases of the moon. In Irish old wives tales, a new or waxing moon was associated with fertility because, "the moon's waxing and waning influenced growth — as the new moon swelled, so would tiny plants within seeds," as Patricia Monaghan noted in The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Essentially, many Celtic and pagan societies believed all living things — from plants to people — were affected the same way by elemental or supernatural forces. If fertility is supposedly boosted this St. Patrick's Day weekend, perhaps we'll see an uptick in conceived babies — only time will tell.
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