A green tie. A green sweater. A green blouse. Green socks.
That's the costume for the day as Americans of all colors and races and ages celebrate St. Patrick's Day -- the day honoring the patron saint of Ireland.
Actually, the 4th or 5th century personality's history is rather murky and plenty of disagreements about it linger to this day.
Did he drive the snakes from Ireland?
No. They already were gone, with the Ice Age, if they ever had been there at all.
Yes. The Druids, who used a snake as their symbol of power, were driven out by the zealous priest.
Did he make the shamrock a symbol of good luck?
No. They were just a plentiful plant in Ireland.
Yes. He used the shamrock as a symbol to teach the religious concept of the Trinity:
Three in one. (Three leaves, one plant.)
Was he a great individual? Maybe, maybe not. Some authorities insist the St. Patrick we recognize actually was two different men, living about the same time.
Was he Irish? Not exactly. He was born in England, captured and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he certainly made a name for himself.
Is he a saint? Well, that depends. He never has been canonized by a Pope, but so many churches declare him a saint in Heaven that he might as well be.
Because the Irish flag is orange, green and white. Protestants identify with the orange part of the flag (Orangemen), Catholics with the green.
One meaning of all this is clear:
Whether your skin is black, white or brown; you're Protestant, Catholic or something else, today is the day to wear a bit of green.
It can't hurt.