St. Patrick’s Day is upon us! While in the United States the day is often celebrated with tales of leprechauns, shamrocks, and gold coins at the end of a rainbow, the holiday has historical roots in Britain and Ireland. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and lived during the fifth century. He was born in Roman Britain and brought to Ireland as a slave when he was 16 years old. At the time, he lived in the coastal British village of Bannavem Taburniae. One evening, a band of Irish marauders raided his village and he was taken hostage and brought to Ireland on King Niall’s slave ship. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to its people. One of the more well known legends of St. Patrick, is that he explained the holy trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, using the three leaves of an Irish clover, otherwise known as a shamrock. The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration is thought to have been celebrated in the ninth or tenth century on March 17th, the day of St. Patrick’s death. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Ireland, but actually in the Spanish colony now known as St. Augustine, Florida on March 17, 1601. Nowadays, parades and celebrations occur all over the world, with New York and Boston having the largest celebrations in the United States. From parades to corned beef, and even green beer (or your beverage of choice!) St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in similar fashions by most, even if such celebrations have diverted from their historical roots. Even the Irish have adapted their celebrations over the years and there’s really no wrong way to celebrate. Ready to partake?! Here are some cool ways to commemorate the holiday with your kiddos:
1. Wear green! This one is pretty well known, but actually has historical roots too. During the eighteenth century, supporters of Irish independence used the color to represent their cause. The color stuck and now appears readily during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
2. Bake soda bread. Irish soda bread originated in Ireland in the 1800s as a way for those who didn’t have an oven to make bread. Nowadays, similar recipes can be made with the convenience of an oven and a few simple ingredients. Check out this recipe and have some fun with the kids in the kitchen!
3. If games are more your thing, these St. Patrick’s Day bingo cards make a great addition to family game night.
4. Listen to some Irish music. Need some inspiration for your kitchen dance party while you’re baking soda break? Give traditional Irish folk music a listen!
5. Feeling crafty? Try out these Rainbow Shaker Wands. Using supplies you probably already have around the house, these wands bring in the rainbow and gold theme of the holiday with crafting steps that are perfect for little hands.
6. Want an adult recommendation? St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to enjoy a Guinness or Irish Coffee. All in the name of celebration, of course! If you really want to involve the whole family, try out some of these St. Patrick’s Day themed drinks, suitable for all ages.