What is St Patrick’s Day?
“Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.” Google.
The colour green is associated with St Patrick’s Day.
I remember when I was living in Chicago in the 1980’s St Patricks day was a huge occasion. Chicago has a large Irish population. The Chicago River was coloured green. Everyone walked around the city wearing green clothes and there was much drinking and merriment in the local Irish Pubs and Bars.
So HOW did the colour green become to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day?
Apparently the colour green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Since at least the 1680s green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s. Green was adopted as the colour of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick, an Irish fraternity founded in about 1750.
“In the 1790s, green became associated with Irish nationalism when it was used by the United Irishmen. This was a republican organisation—led mostly by Protestants but with many Catholic members—who launched a rebellion in 1798 against British rule. The phrase “wearing of the green” comes from a song of the same name, which laments United Irishmen supporters being persecuted for wearing green. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew.” Wikipedia
Here is a Utube video, Wolfe Tones singing the Wearing of the Green incase you have not heard the song.
Most countries of the world have a National Day, some we don’t know about and some are embraced by the countries that have large immigrant populations living away from their homeland. Such as the Irish who settled all around the world with large populations being in countries like the US, Australia and NZ. St Patrick’s Day has been adopted in these countries. There is not a public holiday as there is in Ireland, but the festivities continue on never the less.
Ten ways to enjoy St Patrick’s Day with your child
- Dress in green clothes, explore your wardrobe and have some fun, wigs socks and so forth. Many schools have a green dress up day for St Patricks Day.
- Prepare a green lunch with celery, lettuce, green tomatoes, pickles… green what ever you can think of! Shopping for these items can be a wonderful way to engage your children in the festivities. Or eat traditional Irish food like bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie,potato bread and black pudding. Drink green cordial.
- Write in a green pencil for the day, this might need to be discussed with the school and they may embrace it.
- Find all the songs you can that mention green, songs such as The Green Hills of Home, a Scottish folk song and Emmylou Harris – The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia. It is interesting for children to understand the strong connections people have to their home lands and how that love for country is expressed in song.
- Look at film clips of Riverdance and or listen to Irish music.Traditional Irish dancing historically uses a very straight body, hands straight down the body, with great attention to the foot work. My understanding is this practise developed in the days when the English banned the Irish culture and people meet in their houses and there was not a great deal of room to move and they had to keep their movements low to avoid being caught.
- Make a leprechaun costume with a green top hat, orange beard, white long socks and black shoes.
- Spray your hair green, coloured hair spray can be bought from Party Shops.
- Create some activities around the Irish shamrock, make cards with green paper to give to friends or decorate wrapping paper, laced with green glitter and green confetti or create a beautiful picture for the wall.
- Check out activityvillage.co.uk and find the St Patrick’s Day craft ideas, and worksheets, if you are stuck in the snow!
- If you live in a warmer climate think about green pavement drawings with chalk.. could create a fun drawing competition in your neighbourhood.
Enjoy… have a wonderful St Patrick’s Day and remember… The Irish Blessing.
Would love to hear how you spent your St Patrick’s Day.
Thanks for dropping by. Best wishes