Saint Patricks day is on the 17th of March every year and is the day that people celebrate the patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. He is said to have died on the 17th of March 461 and it is therefore the day that his life is celebrated.
The Irish people are great travellers and emigrated to search for new opportunities in places such as America, Asia, Australia and across the world.
As a way to retain their heritage and celebrate being Irish, St Patricks Day was celebrated in their new countries, especially America. It has grown from just celebrating the patron Saint of Ireland, to now being a day of Irish celebration around the world.
It is considered so popular, that it is said to be celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.
Saint Patrick, it turns out wasn’t even Irish. That’s right! He was born in England, but at the age of 16 he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to be a slave.
Who was Saint Patrick?
Who was Saint Patrick?
After 17 years in Ireland as a slave, he managed to escape and leave the country. He later ended up returning in 432 in a mission to convert the Irish to Christianity.
During his mission in Ireland, he helped to established schools, churches and monasteries.
With his teaching and the establishment of churches across the country. St. Patrick was responsible for helping Christianity flourish in Ireland.
What myths and legends are associated with Saint Patrick?
Due to his great work in Ireland, many myths and legends grew up around Saint Patrick. It is said that he drove the snakes out of Ireland, but no one has been able to verify if there were ever snakes in the island country.
He is also associated with the shamrock, also known as the clover. It is believed that he used it as a teaching aid to explain the Christian trinity with its 3 leaves.
He was never associated with the 4-leaf clover, which occurs every now and then in nature, and is associated with luck if you were to find one, since they are so rare to find.
The Luck of the Irish saying didn’t actually come from Ireland but from the American gold rush where some of the most successful gold miners were Irish or American Irish. Over time the expression that someone had the ‘Luck of the Irish’ stuck and has been associated with the Irish ever since.
How do people Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?
In the past, Saint Patricks day was celebrated with religious services and feasts. It has since evolved with many places around the world holding parades with Irish bands, floats and lots of people dressed in Green.
In the United States Saint Patrick celebrations were first held in Boston in 1737. New York had the first St. Patricks day parade in 1762.
Chicago, even changes the color of the river that runs through the city to be green on Saint Patricks day, and has done every year since 1962.
Why does everyone wear Green?
Interestingly the original color associated with St. Patrick was blue! However, over time green has become the color everyone associated with Ireland and Saint Patricks Day.
It is thought that wearing green goes back to when Irish solders held off British invaders who wore red. The Irish of course wore green. Ireland has a lot of association with the color green, and the island country is even referred to as the Emerald (Green) Isle’s dues to its green pastures and the green shamrock.
Even Leprechauns, an Irish mythical person originally started out wearing red. They are said to be cheeky creatures who like to pinch people, however, if you are wearing green you can not be seen by a Leprechaun and can avoid their naughty pinching.
What do People eat on St Patrick’s Day?
There is no set menu for Saint Patricks Day, however cabbage and corned beef are normally associated with the holiday. This is due to these meals being easily available and not very expensive to prepare in years where people did not have a lot of money. This tradition has carried through.
A lot of people don’t like corned beef and cabbage, so you don’t have to eat it on Saint Patrick’s day.
Do you have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Not at all, people of all nationalities get behind St. Patrick Day celebrations and participate by wearing green on the day as a mark of respect to the Irish and to join in with the fun.
What is a Leprechaun?
Leprechauns come from Irish myth and folk law. The are described as little men who wear green traditional Irish suits and normally have ginger hair. Leprechauns are normally shown as men.
During St. Patricks day a lot of people dress as Leprechauns. It is one of the most recognised symbols of being linked with the Irish, along with the Shamrock and Harp.
Leprechauns are normally associated with pots of gold and rainbows. It is said that if you follow a rainbow to its very end that you will find a pot of gold left by a Leprechaun. Legend tells that Leprechauns are not able to see the color green, so by wearing green on St. Patricks day can prevent you getting your bottom pinched by these naughty creatures.
What is a shamrock?
The shamrock is a clover. It is the adopted symbol of the Irish and represents the “rebirth of spring”. During the time when Ireland was being invaded by the British, people would wear the shamrock as a symbol of their Irish heritage.
Where is ireland?
Ireland is the third largest island in Europe and is located next to Great Britain in the Northern hemisphere.
It is to the west of Great Britain and to the south of Northern Island
It is a republic and is known as the Republic of Ireland. A republic is a country that is ruled by the people and does not have a King or a Queen. It has an elected president that leads the country.
Facts about Ireland
Ireland has a population of five million people and is 68,890 square kilometres or 26,600 square miles. It is about the same land size as West Virginia in the USA.
It has a population of 5.1 million people (2020) with the capital city of Dublin having 1.2 million of those inhabitants.
The official languages spoke in Ireland are English and Irish Gaelic.
The country shares a boarder with Northern Island that is owned and governed by the United Kingdom (UK)
Ireland is known as the ‘Emerald Isle’ due to its green pastures and rolling hills.
It has a temperate climate which can be humid at times, but mainly has mild winters and cool summers.
Saint Patrick’s Day Books
We have two great books for kids about St. Patrick’s day. A 101 St. Patrick Day Joke book full of funny one-liners, puns and knock-knock jokes.
We also have an Education Activity book about St. Patrick’s day which has a number of challenging puzzles for the kids to enjoy and learn about Saint Patrick and why it’s celebrated.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Fun for Kids Boards!!