Occasions 365

St Patricks Day

Everyone's Irish on March 17

St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland. Legend has it that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, although in fact snakes were never there. The legend may be referring metaphorically to St. Patrick driving out the Druidic religion and bringing Christianity to the island. Many believe that March 17, 461 AD, marks St. Patrick's death. In Ireland, they celebrate this as a national holiday.

St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

Many cities host an annual St. Patrick's Day parade. There are very large celebrations in Dublin, the capital of Ireland, that focus on families and children. North America also has various parades and celebrations that are usually held the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day. Chicago even adds a temporary dye to the Chicago River to turn it green in celebration. Adults dress up in anything green they can find, and children make St Patrick's Day crafts. Restaurants and bars serve corned beef and cabbage, with green beer to wash it down.

St. Patrick's Day Crafts

The themes for St. Patrick's Day are leprechauns, shamrocks and everything green. For an inexpensive St. Patrick's Day gift to share with friends and classmates, have your kids make Irish friendship pins. Buy safety pins and assorted green beads and Irish-themed charms, and let kids assemble and exchange these simple pins.

If you are looking for something more ambitious, try making a leprechaun paper bag puppet. From green construction paper, cut out shapes to be the leprechaun's hat, jacket and bow tie. Use black construction paper to make a hat band and buttons. Glue these cutouts to the paper bag, and draw on a face with markers. Decorate to your heart's content with shamrock stickers and green glitter glue. Then stick your hand in and make your puppet talk!

The History of St. Patrick's Day

Many descendents of those who emigrated from Ireland during the potato famines of the 18th and 19th centuries hold this day near and dear to their hearts as part of their ancestral binding. It was the Irish colonists who brought St. Patrick's Day to the United States.

Of the 13 original colonies, Boston held the very first celebration of St. Patrick's Day in the early 1700s. In the United States today, there are over 30 million people who have at least a trace of Irish ancestry, and almost everyone becomes Irish for that one special day on March 17.

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