Thursday, March 9, 2017

What You May Not Know About St. Patricks Day


Every year on March 17th, the Irish and non Irish join together to celebrate the feast day of Ireland's patron saint, Patrick.   For many the day is about Leprechauns, chasing rainbows, gold, shamrocks and green.  It is such a fun day to dress up in green, eat green foods, and decorate with shamrocks, but do you really know where the holiday originates from? Do you know that St. Patrick was not actually Irish?


 I have had so much fun going through and learning the actual history of St. Patrick's Day.  I love to share with my children why we celebrate holidays and this is one that started in honor of an exceptional person  (no not a little green guy with bright red hair), Maewyn Succat.

At age 16 Maewyn Succat was kidnapped by Irish pirates and taken from his home in Britain to be a slave in Ireland. He lived in Ireland for 6 years taking care of animals until he was able to escape and catch a ride on a ship headed to Britain. 

 Maewyn converted to Christianity and started training as a priest. He changed his name to Patrick, later becoming Ireland's patron St. Patrick.  He returned as a missionary to Pagan Ireland and began teaching the people there Christianity.  St. Patrick died on March 17th around 461 ad.

 St. Patrick's Day in Ireland dates back to the 17th century as being a religious feast day in honor of the man who brought Christianity to Ireland. It was a quiet day on which most stayed home, there were no big parades or parties, and Irish bars were closed. It wasn't until 1904 that the day became a public holiday in Ireland. 

In the mid-60's parades started  in Dublin and in 1996 the day was turned into a St. Patrick's Festival which features music, parades, treasures hunts and entertainment.  The parades that started in Dublin in the 1960's was largely due to the influence of celebrations taking place on March 17th in America.  The first recorded celebration took place in Boston  in 1737 when a group of Irish men got together to celebrate over dinner what they called the "Irish Saint." The tradition of parading was begin by Irish Catholic saints in 1766 in New York.  As more Irish immigrants came to the America's, the celebrations increased as they were looking for a way to display their civic pride and praise their Irish nationality.

The celebrating of St. Patrick's day has continued to grow across the country, being celebrated by people with no Irish heritage.  Merchants seeing an opportunity to capitalize on the holiday begin selling green t-shirts, shamrocks, food, shakes, and postcards.  Corn beef and cabbage became the standard meal on March 17th even though it is rarely eaten in Ireland. What was a Irish holiday became very Americanized.

St. Patrick 5 Day Study Unit
Coloring Pages or Coloring Pages
St Patrick Copywork
Math Pages for younger kids
St Patrick's Day STEAM Activities
Make green slime for St. Patrick's Day
Make a Shamrock Man
Word Search








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