17 St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
‘Cead Mile Failte’ is Gaelic for ‘100,000 Welcomes’.
St. Patrick’s Day is a fun time to show some Irish hospitality – whether you are Irish, or not. Invite friends and family to join you as you celebrate. No presents necessary!
2. A Good Book
Black Potatoes by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is an engaging history of the Great Irish Famine. An excellent family read-aloud (approx. 10yr+).
The public library is well stocked with picture books on the all things Irish. From the legend of St. Patrick to Irish folklore.
3. Movie Night – Irish Style
Common Sense Media has put together a nice selection of Irish films suitable for family time.
My pick would be, Darby O’Gill and the Little People
Common Sense Media is a good place to look for family movie reviews. They offer age-suggestions, an overview of potential hot spots and a few questions to spur family discussion.
4. Irish Music
There’s more to Irish music than Riverdance. Check out…
Irish Folk music, Donegal fiddle tradition, hornpipes, Irish rock, Irish jazz, Irish ballads, Cape Breton style fiddle – just to name a few styles.
Look up Irish music on any streaming site (Pandora, Spotify, etc) and cue up some tunes for dinner.
5. Irish Festivals and Parades
Most people (in America) can find an Irish festival within driving distance. Cities with a strong Irish heritage host St. Patrick’s Day parades. This is a great way to experience a variety of Irish music styles and dance traditions.
6. Table Decorating
The party supply store will set you up with green paper plates and fun napkins.
For a more eco-friendly and long-term solution, I invested in white dinnerware. I can change the look of our dinner table with a few inexpensive accessories.
Tip: When I’m ahead of the game I shop for paper supplies the week after a holiday and get 75% off. I like to keep a supply of decorations for the less commercial holidays.
7. Gold Chocolate Coins
Grocery stores with bulk candy bins should have chocolate coins at this time of year. I like to package these into 9 Inch Tulle Circles – Emerald Green (25 per pack) and put one at each place setting.
8. Games of Chance
Use the gold coins to play games of chance. If nothing else you can teach your children the lesson “the house always wins” and save them from a future gambling habit!
Our card game instruction book puts an elegant spin on ’21’ by calling it ‘Vingt-et-Un’, which is French for ’21’. This will sound better when your 6-year old tells everyone at Sunday School.
‘Vingt-et-Un’ builds lightning fast mental math skills to boot. Shh…don’t tell the kids.
9. Green Drink
This is a family tradition. It is sweet, sweet, sweet. Which is why we have it once a year. I don’t remember where we got the original recipe, I’ve been using it for 20 years.
Mix 1 quart of lime sherbet, 1/2 cup frozen limeade, 12 oz of lemon-lime soda and crushed ice. Blend. Add a slice of lime to the edge of the glass.
10. Corned Beef and Cabbage
Admittedly, this “classic” dish is not really Irish.
I know, I was just as surprised. If you don’t believe me check out the last word on the History site to discover the true origin.
Even if it didn’t come from the motherland this is a must-have tradition at my house.
My favorite way to cook corned beef is in the slow-cooker – prep it and forget it.
Gabrielle Blair at Design Mom (a blog I love every day of the year) shares her simple method for slow cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage.
11. Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda bread is tricky to get right. It can turn out dry as dust. With the right recipe, it is simple to make and a great bread for children to try. And, it’s authentic – unlike it’s meat and cabbage cousin.
Jennifer Stagg at With Heart has a beautiful version – simple and pure.
12. Turns of Phrase
How many phrases are connected with St. Patrick’s Day or Irish culture? It makes sense that a country famed for the gift o’gab would turn out a lot of great quips.
May the luck of the Irish be with you.
If you’re lucky enough to be Irish…you’re lucky enough.
You’ve got to do your own growing no matter how tall your father was.
I complained that I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.
You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.
Who gossips with you will gossip of you.
A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures.
13. Luck Discussion
For families with older children, a round-table topic adds a fun dimension to dinner.
Introduce the topic and give everyone a chance to weigh-in. It generally works best to go from youngest to oldest. This is great training in the art of conversation.
Tonight’s Question: Do you believe in luck? Why or why not?
14. Grow a Four-Leaf Clover
If you battle clover in the lawn this suggestion may sound like planting dandelions on purpose – ludicrous! But…you can buy clover seed and plant it in little pots to create a table centerpiece. The children will think it’s fun.
15. Wearing o’the Green
I mean, who wants to get pinched?
16. Catching Leprechauns
The Idea Room has a fun Leprechaun trap.
Differentiated Kindergarten shares several fun ideas for hinting at Leprechaun antics.
17. Craft Time
St. Patrick’s Day Coin Dig at Simple Play Ideas
Lucky Printable at Keeping it Simple
Sparkly Lime Playdough at Plain Vanilla Mom – Ohhhh, I love this stuff!
A beautiful round-up of St Patrick’s Day crafts at A Little Tipsy