Family Traditions–St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day falls in my top five favorite holidays, (which also include Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July), which is weird, since I’m not even Irish. But I’ve always loved it–the wearing o’ the green, corned beef and cabbage, adding an O’ to my last name, everything. It’s just so much fun! And so, we’ve put together a set of traditions for St. Patrick’s Day that the children have come to look forward to on a yearly basis. (Actually, I’ve made such a big deal of it in the past, Turkey was genuinely surprised to find that Moose still had to go to school–he seemed to think it was a national holiday. I had to tell him, “Only if you live in Ireland!”)

We start every St. Patrick’s Day with a bowl of Lucky Charms. I know, not really Irish, but how can you pass up the leprechaun on the box? This year, we also had green applesauce with lunch. Moose has really been interested in colored applesauce this year, since they have it at school occasionally, and I always have plenty of food coloring on hand…

We usually read a story about St. Patrick (fact or fiction) at some point. Since St. Patrick does make an appearance on our church year calendar, it seems appropriate to learn about him, even if the actual details of his life seem to be a bit sketchy. In the past, we’ve just read a short story out of a bigger anthology, but this year, I picked up a book specifically about St. Patrick, both the truth and the legend. It also goes into the ways St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated, as well as some symbols of Ireland.

I also considered getting the Tommie dePaola St. Patrick book, but it seemed a little bit too Catholic for us. Yes, I know the actual Patrick was Catholic. But there was something about the artwork, or the emphasis on his sainthood, or something, that didn’t set quite right with me at this point. Maybe when the children are a little older, though, because it does seem like a good book.

We also do fun things like leprechaun coloring sheets, or shamrock mazes, or word searches, of coloring the Irish flag, or something to that effect. I’m glad that Turkey and Bunny haven’t decided that they’re “too old” for stuff like that yet, and they really seem to enjoy doing it every year.

Of course, we always have a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner. And by traditional, I mean a traditional American St. Patrick’s Day dinner–corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, roasted potatoes, Guinness to drink (for the adults), and Guinness cake (for everyone) for dessert. One of these years, maybe I’ll try to make a traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day meal, (although I’m not entirely sure what that would be!), but we all love the corned beef so much, and this is the only time of year I make it, so maybe not!


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