St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
On March 17, 431AD, when Patrick of Ireland died, a new holiday was born. Though the celebrations began in the 700′s as a traditional Catholic Holy Day, over the years St. Patrick’s Day has become more a secular holiday which marks the beginning for spring. The official date for the beginning of spring is March 21, and this also supports the tradition of wearing green. Green is the color for life and growth and if you desire good luck and on this day, you should “be wearin’ a touch o’ the green!
The spreading of Christianity and Catholicism to the Irish of the 4th and 5th century is mainly attributed to St. Patrick, who received the name of Patrick while in seminary after his captivity in Ireland. Traditions that originated back in the 7th century have changed from being strictly religious to a St. Patrick’s Day where “everybody is Irish for the day”. Catholics will start the day off at early mass which signifies the beginning of the holiday. Tradition has it that St. Patrick often used a Shamrock to explain to pagans the concept of the Trinity. The trinity is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost which Christians know all stem from the same God – three in one like the Shamrock plant – three leaves from one stem. If you are wearing a shamrock you can claim Good Luck or Blessings! The tradition of the Shamrock still remains though most don’t know the reason behind it; but it still means Good Luck! to whoever wears it or receives it.
St. Patrick’s Day was first observed as a holiday in the United States in 1737. The US was still under the authority of the British because the Revolutionary War that gave freedom didn’t even start until 1776. So even though many of the Irish had not yet arrived to our shores yet, St. Patrick’s Day was still considered a very important holiday. Queen’s NY started the first parade in honor of St. Patrick and as a result, St. Patrick’s Day parades are popular all across the country. Parades are a great way to celebrate this day!
If you need a tad bit more good luck to start your season off, invite a Leprechaun to accompany you throughout the day. They are packed with good luck – and are kind of cute, to boot!
Of course, one of the most popular traditions that goes only with St. Patrick’s Day is the drinking of particularly green ale. Green is the color of the day! For this holiday, there should be no bar or tavern which does not add some green food coloring to a keg of draft beer to serve mugs of tinted beer to its customers. And of course Irish cream and Irish Whiskey ought to be available too, but make sure the kids get green lemonade or 7UP!
St. Patrick’s Day Around the World
Just because you’re too busy to travel all the way to Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time celebrating Irish traditions. Chicago, New York City, Sydney, and even Tokyo have their own ways to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. What began as the feast of Ireland’s patron saint has now grown into one of the biggest holidays celebrated anywhere in the world.
Up until 2002, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was celebrated as more of a religious holiday, the way it used to be in the old days. Following the hoof and mouth disease scare that canceled parades in 2001, Dublin decided they should embrace the gimmicky shamrocks and green beer to help boost tourism. The 5-day Dublin St. Patrick’s Day festival is now the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the country and has an attendance of over 700,000 people for parade day alone.
In the United States, green-clad partiers line the streets for parades in over a dozen cities. Boston, New York and Chicago host the most popular of these events, but you can even find a parade or two in New Orleans where the influence of Mardi Gras has led to an evolution of Saint Patrick’s Day parades around the big easy. Even after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, locals and tourists alike will be able to catch their share of St. Patrick’s Day beads tossed from elaborate parade floats.
Across the globe in Tokyo, Japanese citizens have been joining the Irish in celebration since 1992. The Tokyo parade is organized by the Irish Network Japan (INJ) with the support of the Embassy of Ireland. The Japanese love a good party and they are particularly fond of all things Irish – including Irish setters and Guinness beer for about $8.00 a pint! However, popular St. Patrick’s Day parade highlights are the “free beer girls” who represent the local Irish taverns by handing out vouchers which are good for complimentary green beer.
Since the entire month of March is festival season down under, Sydney’s calendar is full of events, many of them representing Irish culture. There are Irish heritage at breakfasts, lunches, dinners, balls, race days, golf days, and concerts. Of course, there’ll be plenty rounds of drinks in Australia’s more than 150 Irish pubs. However it’s not all about drinks for Australia. A traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Mass is held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.
What once began as a traditional Irish holiday day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide, has now come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. No matter where you are or what country you are in, chances are you will see a little bit of the “wearing of the green” on March 17th.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Who was St. Patrick? Was he a leprechaun, a man, or the name of a four leaf clover? Looking around any marketplace today you might be tempted to answer a Leprechaun. With so much of this holiday being taken over by the materialistic business world you soon forget that this day in history is a day of honour for a well beloved man.
Who is St. Patrick and Why do we honour him?
St. Patrick is Americas most well known saint at least he was just 50 years ago. He is well known in Catholic churches as the patron saint of Ireland. When he was a young man of about 16 years he was taken captive by Irish Raiders. He was made to watch sheep in a field by himself. This led to him spending a great deal of time fellowshipping with his God.
After about six years he escaped back to his home town in Britain. Soon however Patrick received a revelation from God to return back to Ireland to minister to the very people who held him prisoner. It is said that Patrick was the one who rid Ireland of it’s snakes. Although no facts can prove this to be so it is said that when Patrick arrived in Ireland the second time of his own free will he was able to banish the infestation of snakes that was believe to dominate Ireland at the time.
Why the holiday?
St. Patricks Day is held on the 17th of March in honour of his Death. It is traditionally celebrated by attending church and then partying in the afternoon with the bacon and cabbage being the meal of tradition. Up until the mid 1970′s this was an Irish National Holiday where even the Pubs were closed in observance of this Saint.
Today however St. Patricks Day is yet another day to celebrate life in the present, the past, and the present. It is a day of celebration in parades, in parties (drinking irish beer), and in wearing the green to let all those around you know that you are Irish and proud of it!
Tips for Celebrating St. Patricks Day with your Children:
1. Find a Three leaf Clover and explain how St. Patrick used it to minister to the Irish natives.
2. Visit www.saintpatricksdayparade.com/NYC/newyorkcity.htm Saint Particks Day Parade for more information on the first and longest Parade in American history to celebrate this day in history.
3. Make a Blarney stone just like the one in Ireland at Enchanted Learning. www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/stpatrick/blarneystone/
4. Make some gold coins as a St. patricks day treat. A delicious and original recipe from homeschoolzone. www.homeschoolzone.com/cook/goldcoins.htm
5. Print some St. Patricks Day theme paper from Storyit www.storyit.com/Seasonal/stpat.htm and write a letter to St. Patrick
For a fun and simple game to play with your children play Pinch me. This is a safe online version so no tushies get harmed. Visit www.storyit.com/Seasonal/stpat.htm and pinch everyone not wearing green. If you accidentally pinch someone wearing green you lose a point. Have fun!
St. Patrick’s Day Treats
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year with some of these fun and of course mostly green St. Patrick’s Day Treats.
Place a scoop of lime sherbet into a tall glass, pour ginger ale over it and watch it fizz. This can be made even fancier by rubbing some lime juice on the rim of the glass and then dipping it in green sugar crystals before you pour the leprechaun ale.
Lucky Clover Cake
Prepare 9 x 13 inch cake using a boxed cake mix. We like to use yellow cake for this. Get a can of vanilla frosting and use a few drops of yellow and blue food coloring to color the frosting green. After the cake is baked and cooled down, cut three heart shaped pieces out of the cake. We use a cardboard template to make the hearts even. Arrange them on a plate with the pointy ends pointing toward each other. It will look like a clover leaf. Frost the entire cake with the green vanilla frosting.
Mini Mint Ice Cream Tarts
Purchase a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough. Roll the dough into small balls (a little smaller than a golf ball), and press them in the bottoms of mini muffin pans. Bake according to package directions. Press the middle of the cooked dough down after you take them out of the oven. Let them cool for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a baking rack and let them cool completely. To serve, scoop mint ice cream in each of your mini tart shells.
St. Patrick’s Day Cookies
Buy or make simple sugar cookie dough. Let the kids cut out shamrock shaped cookies with a cookie cutter. Bake them. While they are cooling, use food coloring to turn vanilla frosting or a simple powered sugar and milk glaze green. Let the kids decorate the cookies with frosting and plenty of green sprinkles.
St. Patrick’s Day Parfait
Prepare a pack of instant pistachio pudding according to package directions. Mix a few drops of food coloring with cool whip to tint it green. Cut up some kiwi fruit. Layer chilled pudding, kiwi fruit and green cool whip for a completely green St. Patrick’s Day Parfait.
Are you seeing green yet? Give a few of these yummy sweet St. Patrick’s Day treats a try this year. They are always a big hit with our families.