Not just a day of feasting on corned beef and cabbage, wearing green, or looking for pots of gold at the end of a rainbow, St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday replete with meaning and worthy of a proper celebration.
Who Was St. Patrick?
Every year on March 17th, along with the Irish, we celebrate their national holiday in honor of the death of one of their beloved Saints, St. Patrick. Certainly, this is not just a day for corned beef and cabbage, rainbows and leprechauns, and four leaf clovers, but a day to truly celebrate the life of a man who brought Christianity to Ireland.
The funny thing about the story of Patrick, is he wasn’t even Irish. He was English. Kidnapped from his home and family in his youth by pirates, made a shepherd slave for 6 years in Ireland, and later freed, Patrick eventually entered the clergy. God called him back to the very people who had taken him and he became a missionary to the people of Ireland. His story is fantastic and understanding it’s heritage makes the celebration that much more meaningful.
I highly recommend purchasing The Torchlighters- Hero’s of the Faith: The St. Patrick Story on Amazon Prime. Torchlighters stories are rich with primary source history and are well done for children without sacrificing the true accounts many heroes of our faith had to endure. We watch this video a few days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day and then the children enJOY putting on a play with friends and presenting the true story of St. Patrick for the adults. It is a tradition we look forward to.
Setting the Atmosphere for St. Patrick’s Day
As much as I love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, I don’t decorate around it except for our shamrock that goes on the front door and the green table runner on our table. Of course, it is important for a celebration to have the right festive atmosphere, so we rely on the right background music to transport us to Ireland for the day. Here are some of our favorite Irish albums we have playing throughout the day and especially at dinner:
St. Patrick’s Day Feast
In our home, St. Patricks Day was always my favorite annual feast. Although I love the fall with all the pumpkins and spices that pour from the kitchen, give me a corned beef over a turkey any day. Corned beef and cabbage reminds me of my grandpa. He loved his meat. Sunday supper, after church, was always a special meal. Corned beef and cabbage was served in big bowls like a soup when I was growing up, but now I do things a little differently. I still love to honor my grandpa for giving me a love for corned beef and cabbage.
The Menu for Our St. Patrick’s Day Feast
- Parsley-Mint Salad
- Crispy Brussels sprouts with Lemon & Garlic Aioli
- Mashed potatoes with parsley or chives
- Lacquered Coriander Carrots
- Crispy Slow Cooker Corned Beef and cabbage
- Fig and Fennel Soda Bread
- Spirulina Mint Chip Ice Cream (Don’t let the name scare you…it’s delicious!!!)
St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
The Story of the Shamrock and a Hunt
The shamrock is a symbol of St. Patrick. He used the shamrock, which has three leaves on a stem, to communicate the idea of the Trinity. In one God there were three parts: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It is always a fun treat to release the children on a hunt in a field of clovers to find one that has four leaves. A four-leaf shamrock is a rare find, a lucky find, indeed.
Treasure Hunt Ending with a Pot O’Gold
I remember as a child, getting off the school bus. My grandpa greeted my brother and I dressed in a pirate costume. He handed us our first clue. Excitedly, we ran from clue to clue until at the end we found a shovel and a big X marks the spot. We dug down to discover a jar filled with pennies. We spent the afternoon counting pennies and thinking we had the coolest pirate grandpa in the world.
A treasure hunt involves hiding clues all over your property that lead to another clue. Eventually, you come to the end where you will discover your pot of gold. You can either bury a jar of coins or purchase gold wrapped chocolate coins to create a real “pot of gold”. Additionally, creating your clues on different colored strips of paper can add to the effect of following the rainbow to your pot of gold.
I don’t know your property, but hiding little notes of paper in some of the following places can get you started:
- in the hollow of a tree
- under a chair cushion
- in the mailbox
- under a planter box
- in a birdhouse
- in the tool box
- under the welcome mat
- in the car
- in someone’s pocket
- behind the cookie jar
* Remember when hiding clues you need to hide the clue for the next spot not at the spot. For example, if the clue leads you to the shed, then when you are hiding the clue leading you to the shed, it goes in the place before. You have to think one step ahead when hiding the clues. This will make sense when you go to hide the clues. Trust me.
If you have more time, make a day of it and gather a large group of friends for a Scavenger Hunt through your town. Scavenger hunts are fun and bonding. Who doesn’t love to have a good time?
Irish Step Dancing
There are some great videos on YouTube that can teach you some beginner steps with Irish Dancing. Our kids love to dance. We put on our Riverdance music and Jig away.
Darby O’Gill and the Little People
In the evening, with our bowls of Spirulina Mint Chip Ice Cream, we settle in for a family movie night with a movie I have watched from childhood: the old Disney classic, Darby O’Gill And The Little People. Now, it may not be as well known as Cinderella, but it sure is a fun St. Patty’s Day treat, including all the little people, pots of gold, and wishes you could ask for. Plus, it is a chance to see Sean Connery in his younger years. Be aware parents, the Banshee and Death Coach can be a little frightening imagery for younger viewers. Just make sure they know to cover their eyes.
Pinch of Green
Of course, don’t forget to wear green or you might get pinched. No cheating. Underclothes don’t count.