Saint Patrick’s Day originated as a Catholic celebration in honor of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who passed on March 17. In early days, the designated color for this holiday was blue. In secular culture today, the holiday revolves around the color green and is focused less on patron saints than it is on shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage and green beer. The United States is home to more than ten times the number of Irish descendants than living in the country of Ireland, so it’s no wonder this is a popular U.S. celebration.
St. Patricks day seems to draw those who like to do it up right – the Plumber’s Union, Local 130, in Chicago turns an entire river Irish green in honor of this holiay! With enthusiasm at this level, I’m going to take a guess that a majority of these journeymen are of Irish descent.
As a child, my mom would make a big deal of holidays and special events. We were no strangers to the party hat, streamers, loud horns…which can be rather embarrassing – especially when having friends over.
I took a vow to never do that to my children, so this Halloween when my son asked me to drop him off at school rather than walk him up, I was shocked (and he sprinted for the door). Was he embarrassed at my silly wig? Was I really doing to him the very thing my mom did to me at his age – couldn’t be – I’m way cooler than that, right?
So it is – the inevitable. I’ve grown to be like my mother…not in every way and I’m surely way more hip and far less embarrassing.
Taking all this into consideration, I planned an entertaining but low-key St. Patty’s Day that our kids could look forward to and not dread. I’m holding off on the hats, wigs and shamrock glasses this year, so here’s my plan:
- We’ll start the day with green food coloring at the bottom of our cereal bowls – I like to believe it’s a surprise, but I think they know by now to expect that sort of thing. I would guess that during breakfast Dad might try to explain to two (hopefully excited) children what this holiday is all about, and they’ll absorb every word.
- I’m going to try and find a great way to dye the kids’ bath water green, so if you have any fabulous suggestions or favorite products, let me know!
- Dressed in our festive green, we’ll participate in some local St. Patty’s day fun and try to get in to Lansdowne Arms for some Irish food sampling and bubbly, greenbeverages. Lansdowne throws a great bash including live bands, traditional Irish dancing and head shav-a-thon fund raiser for Saint Baldricks Cancer Foundation http://www.stbaldricks.org/ – which is a wonderful cause, but we’ll probably be keeping our hair this year.
As our children grow older – maybe really, really old – they may appreciate our humorous efforts for family fun. If we are lucky, they may even carry on some of our traditions with their families…or at least get some good laughs looking back!
How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?