On St. Patrick’s Day, you’re likely to see plenty of leprechauns. These mythical creatures are the small fairy folk of Irish legends. They’re traditionally portrayed as snappy dressers in green suits with hats and buckled shoes.
Leprechauns are small. Some pictures show them tiny enough to sit on your shoulder, while others claim they’re about the size of small children.
Leprechauns are known to be practical jokers who love to play tricks on humans. Even though they’re occasionally mischievous, they are intelligent creatures that are mostly harmless.
Irish legends hold that leprechauns are shoemakers. They supposedly store all the gold coins they earn in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The legend of the pot of gold is popular, and many people have been known to chase rainbows in search of leprechauns and their gold. Supposedly, if you catch a leprechaun, he will grant you three wishes in return for his freedom.
St. Patrick’s Day festivities would not be complete without leprechauns, since they’re known to be great musicians, too. Leprechauns can play a variety of traditional Irish instruments, such as tin whistles, the fiddle and the Irish harp.
The name leprechaun has an uncertain origin. Some believe it derives from the Old Irish words for “small” and “body.” Others believe the term may have come from the Irish words for shoemaker.