Go green for St. Patrick’s Day
Go Green for Saint Patrick’s Day!
As a young child I remember the sound of children teasing one another, hinting at the possibility of an impending pinch for those not wearing a bit of green on March 17th in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day. Though certain traditions, albeit largely commercially-focused ones, are well known surrounding this holiday, there were details I discovered only when venturing to teach my own young ones about the celebration of St. Patty’s Day.
The Festival Day of St. Patrick who is the patron saint of Ireland, is held on March 17th, which is the traditional date of his death. The story of St. Patrick includes his capture by Irish raiders as a youth and being whisked away to Ireland as a slave. Years later after reuniting with his family, he eventually returned to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally known for legend of ridding Ireland of snakes—some think this may be the idea of religious pagan symbols rather than actual snakes. The Irish Catholic feast day tradition of St. Patrick’s Day migrated with immigrants from Ireland to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries, later becoming a largely commercially-focused holiday in the 21st century.
The tradition of wearing green clothing, accessories, or shamrocks originated with the intention of making oneself invisible to leprechauns who would pinch anyone not attired in green, and people began pinching others who were not sporting the color as a reminder that leprechauns would prey on them.
Other iconic symbols associated with St. Patrick’s Day include: the shamrock (most common) as it is the symbol of the Holy Trinity; the wearing of green; the flying of the flag of the Republic of Ireland; Irish drinks; the Celtic cross; the harp; the leprechaun and pot of gold; and that of snakes and serpents. Holiday revelers can also be found indulging in sweets (for the children) and beer (for the adults), dying various foods green, and consuming various forms of Irish foods.
Here are a few things you can do with your kids to participate in the feast day of St. Patrick this year or as a way to introduce your au pair to this fun tradition:
– Attend a St Patrick’s Day parade sporting your favorite shade of green!
– Grab a bowl or box of Lucky Charms for breakfast.
– Go green—make your kids favorite drink green with food coloring OR better yet make a green smoothie for that extra dose of healthy habits!
– Learn about St Patrick and Ireland through checking out books at your local library.
– Give the gift of a potted shamrock!
By Ruth Janzen