“On St. Patrick’s Day, you hide all of your valuables. This is the day that the leprechauns come out and get revenge on people who have been bad for the previous year. It is kind of like Santa in the sense that you’re supposed to be good all year so that the leprechauns don’t have an incentive take your stuff.”
Leprechauns first emerged in Irish folklore in medieval times and have since been a staple of Irish culture everywhere. Leprechauns are said to enjoy playing practical jokes, such as stealing valuable items. Sometimes, leprechauns are believed to be fairies with evil spirits. However, this creature has developed into one that will steal your valuables on Saint Patrick’s Day only if you were bad the previous year. So, it is an incentive for younger children to be good year round so that their valuables aren’t “stolen”. My informant remembers that when she was younger, sometimes her parents would take something her or her siblings really loved if they were bad in the days leading up to Saint Patrick’s Day, only to blame it on the leprechauns. As she grew older, even though she stopped believing in leprechauns, her and her family would still hide some of their valuables just because it had become tradition.