Each year on March 17th, we hold St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in honor of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick was born in Britain but was kidnapped at a young age and taken to Ireland, where he tended sheep as a slave. Saint Patrick eventually escaped and made his way back home. He spent years there quietly praying in search of God’s will for his life. In what must have come as a shock, Saint Patrick was led back to the very place he’d fled in search of freedom. Saint Patrick began preaching, building churches and schools throughout Ireland. Word of his generosity and kindness spread quickly amongst the people of Ireland.
Today, we celebrate Saint Patrick and the country he both loved and served in a variety of ways. We continue simple traditions, such as wearing green. Parades are held in Saint Patrick’s honor in most major cities. Festive St. Patrick’s Day parties also abound, featuring Irish food, music, and dancing. Our local library holds an annual celebration featuring a treasure hunt, Irish trivia, shamrock crafts, and hot colcannon and Irish soda bread!
Shamrocks are probably the most notable St. Patrick’s Day symbol. Saint Patrick used the shamrock’s three leaves to explain that there is one God in three forms: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The harp, a national symbol of Ireland, is also commonly used in celebrations.
We often hear stories and see images of the wee folk, or leprechauns, around St. Patrick’s Day. Legend states that if you can catch a leprechaun, he must lead you to his pot of gold. Here are two of our favorite leprechaun stories: The Little Dancer and How the Leprechauns Learned to Count Their Pots of Gold. Read them with your little ones to ignite those big imaginations if you get a chance!
There are also a variety of myths and legends surrounding Saint Patrick. According to one legend, Saint Patrick drove all snakes out of Ireland by banging a drum!
Now on to the fun! We have a lot of it around here in the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. Without further ado, here’s how we celebrate!
St. Patrick’s Day Fun:
–Attend a St. Patrick’s Day Parade: The fun starts by attending our local St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We always enjoy a parade and the St. Patrick’s Day ones are about the best around. The parade is full of creative and fun displays, plus the plain silly and outrageous! Our local parade is always family friendly though! And the kids especially love the beads and candy!
–Find a Shamrock: Our decorations for St. Patrick’s Day are quite simple. The main attraction is a humble, green shamrock. It’s delicate white blossoms are so lovely. It’s the centerpiece of the kitchen counter and I can hardly keep my eyes off it!
–Read Books/Listen to Audio Stories: We bring the St. Patrick’s Day picture books out to read during the week leading up to the big day! We also enjoy listening to our favorite audio stories, such as Celtic Treasures by Jim Weiss and Tales From Old Ireland, each year.
–Make Shamrock Shakes: The boys admittedly look forward to making these sweet concoctions this time of year. We’ve tried a variety of recipes. This year we stuck with basic natural ingredients and used vegan vanilla ice cream, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, mint extract, a handful of baby spinach and a tiny pinch of spirulina. Yum!
–Make Rainbow Skewers: We’ve done this for several years in a row. I’ve stuck with this ‘treat’ because it’s both easy and healthy. The boys help wash and prepare the fruit and then big brother and I slide the fruit on the skewers. They’re so bright, pretty, and yummy that they’re gone in no time!
–Tell Saint Patrick’s Day Jokes: Our boys sure love to laugh so I’m constantly looking for new jokes to surprise them with. They got such a kick out of these printable jokes from the Happy Home Fairy this year, and these as well. So funny!
–Do a Saint Patrick’s Day Craft: We try to do a craft for Saint Patrick’s day each year, in addition to the crafts at the library party. This year we tried a rainbow chain craft I’d pinned a while back. I’d tried it once before when our oldest was a bit younger and had to do most of it myself, ha. This year my oldest was able to complete his own, with some creative embellishments, while I helped our middle with his. (This craft has shiny bits of glitter for the gold coins, so it also served as bait to hang over our leprechaun trap!) Last year we tried fruit loop necklaces. The boys had a blast using their little fingers to string the cereal and then enjoyed eating their creations afterward!
–Use Our Shamrock Cookie Cutter: I use our shamrock cookie cutter throughout the week to cut anything I possibly can. I use it on sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, toast, eggs… It’s easy to do and the boys are thrilled when they see a shamrock quesadilla instead of the ‘regular’ ones they’re used to!
–Set A Leprechaun Trap: The night before St. Patrick’s Day, we set a leprechaun trap. The boys design their own and always include something shiny to lure the wee ones in! Here’s an adorable example of this tradition with lovely photographs and suggestions!
St. Patrick’s Day:
–St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast: We try to do something different each year but Saint Patrick’s Day breakfast always includes something green. This year we made cinnamon rolls with green frosting and gold sprinkles. What a treat!
–Check the Leprechaun Trap: After the green breakfast, we remember to check the leprechaun trap. Alas, the clever wee ones have escaped our trap yet again. But the leprechaun has kindly left a sweet note and some gold chocolate coins behind, as well as a few easy clues leading to a favorite box of cereal! Such tricksters!
Well, that’s our St. Patrick’s Day fun wrap up! Hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day!
How did you celebrate? What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day books, crafts, and/or activities?
Can’t wait to hear!