The origins of the leprechaun myth

The origins of the leprechaun myth – Leprechaun imagery is ubiquitous during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but even the most ardent Paddy’s Day revelers may know little about these mythical creatures. #leprechauns

The origins of the leprechaun myth

The origins of the leprechaun myth - Leprechaun imagery is ubiquitous during St. Patrick's Day celebrations, but even the most ardent Paddy's Day revelers may know little about these mythical creatures. #leprechauns

The tricolor flag. Bagpipes. Each of these things are symbols of St. Patrick’s Day, which celebrates the patron saint of Ireland every year on March 17.

While each of the aforementioned symbols is tangible, one popular image has proven a little more elusive. Leprechaun imagery is ubiquitous during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but even the most ardent Paddy’s Day revelers may know little about these mythical creatures.

Now widely depicted as tiny, bearded and mischievous men clad in coats and hats, leprechauns have been traced to ancient Ireland. The precise etymology of the word “leprechaun” is unknown, though many scholars believe the word we use today is derived from the old Irish “Lú Chorpain,” which means “small body.” Some scholars point to the 8th century word “luchorpán,” meaning “sprite” or “pygmy,” as the origins of the word leprechaun. Another word, “lubrican,” which first appeared in the English language in a 1604 play written by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker, also has been linked to the modern word leprechaun.

The Irish are not enamored with leprechauns. Come St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns are purported to be mischief makers who can rev-up the fun. But within Ireland, the only places you’re liable to find leprechauns is in tourist gift shops. In fact, while the origins of leprechauns may date back to ancient Ireland, many people now believe the image of the fighting, ill-tempered leprechaun is offensive to the Irish people.

Some historians believe the myth of the leprechaun has origins in ancient Ireland, when people believed the tiny creatures were among the various inhabitants of fairy forts and fairy rings throughout the Emerald Isle.

Another take on the source of the leprechaun myth is that these tiny creatures were modern incarnations of the Euro-Celtic god Lugh, who was the sun god as well as the patron of arts and crafts.

Manuscripts from the 12th to 15th centuries suggest leprechauns lived underwater and were not all male (modern leprechaun depictions are all male). In fact, the resource Ancient-Origins.net states that female leprechauns were depicted during this time as figures devoted to luring human men away for various adventures.

While 21st century celebrants of St. Patrick’s Day might be hard pressed to find images of leprechauns not dressed in green, that wasn’t always the case. Prior to the 20th century, leprechauns were described in various depictions as wearing red.

The images of leprechauns can be seen everywhere on and around St. Patrick’s Day, and those images have evolved considerably over the centuries.

St. Patrick’s Day Blog Posts

St. Patrick's Day Blog Posts

  1. All Things Green
  2. All Things Orange
  3. A-Z of St. Patrick’s Day
  4. Celtic Cross
  5. Don’t mistake a shamrock for any old clover
  6. Harp
  7. Irish Flag
  8. Meaning behind popular St. Patrick’s Day symbols
  9. Meaning behind the shamrock
  10. Millions of People Claim Irish ancestry
  11. Origins of the leprechaun myth
  12. Prayer of St. Patrick
  13. Rainbows
  14. St. Patrick’s Day
  15. Top 5 Countries with Irish populations
  16. Unique, mysterious and lesser-known facts about Ireland
  17. Why does the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

MetroCreative Article TF193767 & TF193768 – First published March 2, 2019. Last updated or republished March 8, 2021.

Subscribe To Courageous Christian Father!

Don’t miss any blog posts! Subscribe today! You can subscribe via WordPress or by entering your email! Thank you!

Follow Courageous Christian Father on WordPress.com

Join 5,721 other subscribers

Don’t forget to also share blog posts you love on your favorite social media too! Thank you! Sharing is caring!

Follow on Social Media

Recent Feed of All Blogs

  • Mother’s Day was Invented in KentuckyMother’s Day was Invented in Kentucky
    Mother’s Day was Invented in Kentucky #MothersDay Mother’s Day was Invented in Kentucky appeared first on Courageous Christian Father. Read the full article at Mother’s Day was Invented in Kentucky ©2004-2021 by Steve Patterson Steve Patterson of Courageous Christian Father.Courageous Christian Father - A Christian Blog about the Bible, Theology,… Read more »
  • May is Mental Health Awareness Month – You Can Have a #RealConvo with MeMay is Mental Health Awareness Month – You Can Have a #RealConvo with Me
    May is Mental Health Awareness Month.You Can Have a #RealConvo with Me. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is focusing their attention on having a #RealConvo about mental health. They learned through a recent Harris Poll that 89 percent. May is Mental Health Awareness Month – You Can Have a… Read more »
  • Can I travel after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?Can I travel after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
    SteveZ MaskZ Can I travel after getting the COVID-19 vaccine? Experts say that those who have been fully vaccinated (receiving both shots for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or one for the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine) it is likely safe to travel again. #FullyVaccinated #COVID19Vaccine #Travel Can I travel after… Read more »
  • Cinco de MayoCinco de Mayo
    Cinco de Mayo - literally translate as 5th of May. This is a holiday mostly celebrated in Mexico to commemorate the Mexican Army's difficult victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. #CincodeMayo Cinco de Mayo appeared first on Courageous Christian Father. Read the… Read more »
  • The Benefits of HobbiesThe Benefits of Hobbies
    SteveZ MaskZ The Benefits of Hobbies - Hobbies can benefit people in some interesting ways. Understanding those hidden benefits may compel some people to make more time for their favorite downtime activities. #Hobbies The Benefits of Hobbies appeared first on SteveZ MaskZ. Read more »
  • Way-FM’s CJ is now Chris on Air1Way-FM’s CJ is now Chris on Air1
    Way-FM's CJ is now Chris on Air1 - Way-FM"s DJ known as CJ has left their radio station and now a part of Air1 as Chris. #WayFM #Air1 #ChrisLusk #CJLusk Way-FM’s CJ is now Chris on Air1 appeared first on Courageous Christian Father. Read the full article at Way-FM’s CJ… Read more »
  • How to prepare for telehealth appointmentsHow to prepare for telehealth appointments
    SteveZ MaskZ How to prepare for telehealth appointments - Patients can take steps to ensure their telemedicine sessions with their physicians are as productive as possible. #telehealth #COVID19 How to prepare for telehealth appointments appeared first on SteveZ MaskZ. Read more »
  • May the LORD be with youMay the LORD be with you
    May the LORD be with you! The 4th of May is usually known as Star Wars Day. You'll hear May the Fourth Be with you taking off from the movie May the Force be with you. #maythe4thbewithyou #maythefourth #starwarsday #maytheLordbewithyout #maytheLord May the LORD be with you appeared first on… Read more »
  • Darth Vader’s Guide to Face MasksDarth Vader’s Guide to Face Masks
    SteveZ MaskZ Darth Vader wore a mask and he’s wondering what the big deal is ... check out this face masks guide. Darth Vader’s Guide to Face Masks appeared first on SteveZ MaskZ. Read more »
  • Star Wars DayStar Wars Day
    Star Wars Day - in a galaxy far far away there came a space-themed holiday based on the movie series Star Wars. #StarWars #StarWarsDay MaytheFourth #Maythe4thBeWIthYou Star Wars Day appeared first on Courageous Christian Father. Read the full article at Star Wars Day ©2004-2021 by Steve Patterson Steve Patterson of… Read more »
  • National Two Different Colored Shoes DayNational Two Different Colored Shoes Day
    National Two Different Colored Shoes Day - Be different! Show that you are different! Raise awareness of human diversity by wearing two different colored shoes on this day. #TwoDifferentColoredShoesDay National Two Different Colored Shoes Day appeared first on Courageous Christian Father. Read the full article at National Two Different Colored… Read more »
  • World NF Awareness Day & MonthWorld NF Awareness Day & Month
    World NF Awareness Day & Month - This is an awareness day that hits very close to home as I have Neurofibromatosis (NF). My mother, uncle, and cousins have NF. Some cities are gonna Shine A Light on NF on this day. #EndNF #WorldNFDay #Neurofibromatosis World NF Awareness Day &… Read more »

Thank You For Reading!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Summary
The origins of the leprechaun myth
Article Name
The origins of the leprechaun myth
Description
The origins of the leprechaun myth - Leprechaun imagery is ubiquitous during St. Patrick's Day celebrations, but even the most ardent Paddy's Day revelers may know little about these mythical creatures. #leprechauns

1 thought on “The origins of the leprechaun myth

  1. What a delightful website! I enjoyed your leprechaun post. I had never really considered the offensive issue, and though I don’t think it offensive to me, I can see why some do.

Your Comment is Welcome! Feel free to share!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.