My family has always been very proud of their Irish heritage, so when St. Patrick’s Day comes around in the United States, they step it into high gear and celebrate!
We have green dyed bagels for breakfast and traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner. Irish soda bread is out all day, and the kegs of green dyed beer are picked up early.
We grew up singing to the Irish Rovers as kids, so this is our favorite Irish music to listen to. Family and friends come over to sing, drink, and dance to The Unicorn Song.
Yep, you heard that right. The Unicorn Song.
We even do this Unicorn Song and dance at our family weddings!! It goes a little like this, “There were green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty back camels and some chimpanzees…” If you haven’t heard of this, it does exist! See Wikipedia here. I know that we can’t be the only family making fools out of ourselves singing along to this tune!
If you’re not familiar with the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day, here is a definition of it from history.com:
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
In our house, the kids also get so excited for the leprechaun, a type of fairy in Irish folklore, to come, and they try to find him every year.We tell them stories about the leprechauns, and how they like to play tricks on people. If you catch one, you get all of his gold. At some point, during the day, the leprechaun does come.
The leprechaun leaves a trail of sparkles as he turns over the chairs, flips the couch cushions and has even been known to turn our toilet water green. Lucky for the kids, the leprechaun also hides gold coins around the house. My younger cousins even believed in leprechauns longer than they believed in Santa!
In the past, if we didn’t have our own St. Patrick’s Day party, then we went out to sing and drink. It is so fun to see my family cut loose on this occasion. Many Irish songs have a part for the “audience” to sing. One of these songs has a verse that says, “Who the f*** is Alice?” Now picture my straight-laced uncle who is a dentist, yelling that out with a pint of beer in his hand. Good times!
I love these memories, but now that I have my own family and live 14 hours from my family of Irish descent, I don’t exactly get green kegs of beer (yet). We do build a leprechaun trap, and I play little tricks around the house. The kids find gold coins, and I tell them stories of leprechauns.
We listen to The Irish Rovers and have a great time. Since I can’t find green bagels in the south, I settle for Lucky Charms cereal. My husband makes the corned beef and cabbage, and we go to the local Irish parade and celebrate our heritage.
I know that the people who actually live in Ireland do not do all of these things. These are things that our family has done and that many other Irish-Americans do. It’s fun, a reason to celebrate who we are and has built lots of great memories! So, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all!
Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s’ Day? If so, what do you do special for the occasion?
This is an original World Moms Blog post by Maggie Ellison of South Carolina, USA. Maggie can be found crafting with her children at home or playing on the beach with them in the low country of South Carolina, USA.
Photo credit to http://s198.photobucket.com/albums/aa83/mastab1232/?action=view¤t=untitled.jpg. This photo has been used within the terms of photobucket.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I think it is great that you and your family keep your traditions going 🙂
I love, love, love family rituals. I think the leprachaun hunt idea is just brilliant. A little late in the day here (9.34pm) but will have to try and remember this for next year. Too cool.
Thanks!!!!! Already have The Irish Rovers singing to us and I just drew a shamrock on my son’s hand. He has a school uniform, so he needs something green, right? 🙂
Happy St. Patty’s day to you! Growing up in a Norwegian home all we did to celebrate was wear a green T-shirt. But now that I’ve married into an Irish family it’s one of my favorite holidays! Irish soda bread, corn beef and cabbage, shamrocks, decorations, and a big family gathering. I’m going to have to learn all about the leprechaun stories and games for my kids. So much fun! You’re traditions sound like such fantastic memory makers.
Great post! I love that the toilet water gets turned green, very creative!
Happy St. Patty’s Day, Maggie! I am from Pennsvlvania, and while only a small part Irish, my family also embraced the holiday full force. My whole hometown goes nuts (Wilkes-Barre, Scranton area). Bars open at 7AM and offer $.10 drafts! The parades are attended rain or shine. My family made all the traditional foods, and we always watched “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Since moving to WA and having my own 2 littles ones, the holiday is much more tame. I made them green shamrock shaped pancakes this morning. Still festive and fun, though! Erin go Bragh!
I’m going to use some of these ideas for the future! Right now we just wear green and drink beer (the adults!). Thanks for letting us into your Irish-American world!
Veronica Samuels 🙂