St. Patrick's Day is a fun holiday to most of us but all we really do is wear green so we don't get pinched!

Maybe we should take a few minutes to learn more about the meaning of St. Patrick’s Day and then take the time teach our children why we celebrate the day.

Saint Patrick(43629)Credit:

The day is named for the Patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick.  Not much is known about Patrick's early life, but we do know that he was born in Britain in the 4th century, into a wealthy British family. His father and grandfather were deacons in the Church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. It is thought he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is really unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to become a Priest.

In 432, he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop this time instead of a captured slave, to Christianity the Irish. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the three leaf shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit) to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of teaching and preaching about Christianity, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in reverence, respect, and esteem in the Irish Church.

How can you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at home?  By having a little fun and wearing ‘o the green!  Tell a few jokes and turn on some foot stompin’ Irish music to set the background and enjoy the day.

Begin the day by makinHappy St. Patrick's DayCredit: alighthouse.comg some Irish potato pancakes.  Just add a few uncooked hashbrowns to your batter and fry in butter.  Top with “green” butter (make by softening the butter, adding a few drops of green food coloring and whipping until well blended) and applesauce or syrup.  You can just make regular pancakes and add a little green food coloring for a fun treat for the kids. 

Set the table with a green tablecloth; use green napkins, and cups.  Color their milk with some green food coloring as well!  A small bouquet of green shamrocks in the middle will complete the setting.  Keep the tablecloth and centerpiece to use for supper!

Make sure everyone has something green to wear all day or else they might get pinched!  Historically the tradition of wearing green was said to come from the fact that when Ireland was under English domination, Irish people were actually not allowed to wear green. Because to Irish, green represented their country (take a look at any landscape picture of Ireland and you know why), the English people didn't want to see it.  It was so bad at one time that if an Irish person was caught speaking Gaelic (the traditional Irish language) or if they were wearing green, they could be killed.

WikiAnswers users share their ideas on the origin:

  • Many years ago, playful Irish children began the tradition of pinching people who forgot to wear green on St. Patrick's Day and the tradition is still practiced today.
  • You get pinched because you're a nonconformist.
  • Pinching gives you a bruise so you can have some green on you.
  • The act of pinching on St. Patrick's Day began in America with Irish settlers who tried to get their kids to behave by telling them that fairies would come pinch them.

No matter where the tradition comes from, it is practiced here in the United States today and so it’s best to make sure you have something green on.  Some like to “trick” their friends and wear a pair of green socks or underwear because if they get pinched for not wearing green and they have it on, they can pinch the other person back 10 times!  I prefer to wear plenty of green and not take the chance of getting pinched!

Green BeerCredit:

It is said that on St. Patrick’s Day more beer consumption is doubled!  Many places will offer Irish beers and will put green coloring into their beer for a real Irish feel.  I suggest that you can offer a nice alternative by frosting up some mugs and using nice, cold apple juice or cider.

Celebrate the day by attending a parade if you have one near you.  Many cities that have a large population of Irish-Americans have day-long celebrations and parades.  Some even turn their rivers green to celebrate!  Here is a list of some of the cities that have a rich history of celebrating with a St. Patrick’s Day Parade for many years, some even before we became an independent Nation:

  • 1762 - New York City
  • 1771 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1780 - Morristown, New Jersey
  • 1804 - Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1809 - New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1811 - Buffalo, New York
  • 1813 - Savannah, Georgia
  • 1833 - Carbondale, Pennsylvania
  • 1842 - New Haven, Connecticut
  • 1843 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1843 - Chicago, Illinois
  • 1851 - Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • 1852 - San Francisco, California
  • 1862 - Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • 1867 - Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1869 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1873 - Kansas City, Missouri
  • 1882 - Butte, Montana
  • 1909 - Rolla, Missouri

Other fun activities you can do to celebrate St. Patrick ’s Day as a family is to have an ISt. Patrick's Day(43625)Credit: blog.scour.comrish potato, cabbage, and sausage soup served in bread bowls for supper.  This will look like finding the “pot” at the end of the rainbow!  Serve with your green butter and green milk!  Decorate the table with a shamrock centerpiece with “gold coins” scattered around.    Use the gold foil wrapped chocolates for the coins. 

Take this opportunity to learn more about the Country of Ireland and its rich history. Plan a short family lesson on Ireland, showing their flag, explaining some customs, and even practice talking with the Irish brogue! 

Finish your evening watching a fun Irish movie such as “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” or “Rudy.”