I have never tried McDonald’s Shamrock shake probably because I keep hearing it might taste a little like cough syrup, or something like that.
I realized this morning while listening to ” Stu Jeffries $1000 Dollar Minute” on Boom 97.3FM that today was March 17th and that means St. Patrick’s Day! All the questions were St. Patrick’s Day related and my kids looked at me quite perplexed as the quiz went on, because I think they knew the “Lucky Charms” question and that was it.
“Today is St. Patrick’s Day!” I proclaimed.
“What does that mean?”, were the responses.
Oops. I thought as I realized that we’ve really never spoken about St. Patrick’s Day – at least not recently – and when we reconvened at dinner time I had better have an explanation more significant that my note about the Shamrock shake.
So here, is the “Coles Notes” version of why St. Patrick’s Day matters and why we celebrate it, with some fun facts thrown in for the curious kids:
- St. Patrick’s Day is an annual feast day celebrating the patron saint Patrick for whom the day is named after.
- Saint Patrick was not born Irish, but became an integral part of the Irish heritage through his service across Ireland of the 5th century.
- Patrick was either Scottish or English, his real name was though to be Maewyn Succat and Patricius was his Romanicized name until it became Patrick.
- St. Patrick’s Day is the national holiday of Ireland.
- On the religious side, St. Patrick, is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people.
- Many believe St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, but truth be told, Ireland never actually had snakes, and many now believe that “snakes” actually represented the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place.
- Many, many people – Irish or not – wear the colour green today.
- An interesting Irish tradition which I chose to mention after your day at school has finished, is to pinch anyone who is not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day.
- St. Patrick’s Day was first observed in Boston by Irish immigrants in 1737. I believe the Chicago river is turned green today by a dye which lasts 2-4 days.
- The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US was held in New York, of course, in 1766. The Toronto St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on Sunday March 15th.
- The common symbols of St. Patrick’s Day are the shamrock, pot-of-gold andleprechans.
- Three is Ireland’s magic number and the three petals that make up the shamrock are supposed to bring good luck.
- The three leaves also represent the Trinity in the Christian religion.
- The leprechaun is a small Irish fairy who is dressed like a shoemaker, with pointed shoes and hat and he wears a leather apron.
- Leprechauns are supposed to be unfriendly little men who lives alone in the forest, spending all of their time making shoes and guarding their treasures.
- If someone catches a leprechaun, he will be forced to tell where he hides all his pots of gold. However, the leprechaun must be watched at all times. If his captor looks away, the leprechaun will vanish along with his treasure.
- Envy, while green, is not welcomed on St. Paddy’s Day.
- Today is the only day that I willingly change my last name, “Orlans” to “O’lans”.
- Tonight we’re going to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day not by drinking green beer, or by wearing green PJ’s but by eating all of our green veggies! Yum.