Leprechauns are a type of mythical creature in traditional Irish folklore. A leprechaun is usually depicted as a small bearded man (no bigger than a child) who wears a green suit and a hat. They are known for engaging in activities of friskiness, are quite playful and sometimes tricky. According to folklore, leprechauns are extremely skilled in making shoes, as well as guarding treasures. They like to hide their valuables in pots and store them at the ends of rainbows. If captured by a human, a leprechaun must grant the human three wishes in order to be released. However, leprechauns tend to be quick, and they can instantly disappear if one doesn’t keep a close eye. Although they enjoy mischief, they are neither regarded as good nor evil.
These mythical creatures have been in the pages of Irish folklore for a long time, and are now considered as a symbol of Ireland. Their name is derived from an Irish word meaning “pygmy.” Leprechauns can usually be found in farmhouses, and although they are wary about humans (whom they view as greedy), leprechauns sometimes perform small tasks for them. Furthermore, leprechauns even provide trinkets for humans as good luck charms in exchange for other goods. They are mostly seen as harmless, merry creatures despite their mischievousness.
In popular culture, leprechauns are depicted as miniature men who don green clothing, and who loves practical jokes. They sit on top of pots of gold, or are seen with a large glass of beer. This popular image deviates a little from traditional Irish folklore. Traditionally, leprechauns are solitary fairies, skilled with their hands, and trusted to guard the most valuable treasures. But with popular images such as the leprechaun mascot of the popular American brand cereal, Lucky Charms, they are now mostly regarded as very lively and entertaining creatures who bring humans luck whenever they are encountered. Images of the leprechaun are especially prevalent around St. Patrick’s Day.