by Shaelyn Saraceni
Americans are great at making excuses to binge drink and party, so it isn’t surprising that we decided to embraced St. Patrick’s day.
Kids get to search for leprechauns, eat chocolate gold coins, and wear green. Adults get to drink, party, and wear green.
Growing up, I never questioned the tradition of wearing green, getting pinched if I didn’t wear green, eating corned beef and cabbage, or building a trap for a leprechaun. I reflect back on these tradition with fondness. I’ll never forget the time in kindergarten when my mom and I made a leprechaun house out of popsicle sticks, but the floor had a trick rug with a mechanism underneath to catch anything that tried to get the candy behind the rug. We all set our traps up the day before St. Patrick’s day in the classroom. When we came to class the next day, there was a green bucket of paint knocked over and little green footprints all over the classroom. I was exhilarated and following the footprints. They led to my trap, but when I checked it, there was no leprechaun, only a cheap plastic gold coin. That little trickster got away, and I was crushed.
Leprechaun's are mythical Irish creatures who, it is commonly said, couldn’t see you if you wore green. If they couldn’t see you, they couldn’t pinch you. They also wanted their pot of gold, which (as we teach kindergarteners) is at the end of the rainbow. Hence, we wear green and hand out gold coins to kids.
So, who was St. Patrick? According to an article in The Telegraph by Juliet Eysenck, “[Patrick] spent . . . 30 years establishing schools, churches, and monasteries across the country. Patrick was later appointed as successor to St. Palladius, the first bishop of Ireland. He is said to have died on March 17 in the year 461.”
My nana helped immerse me in this Irish holiday. Her birthday is on St. Patrick’s day, so we eat corned beef and cabbage, wear green, and party. She also introduced me to the film The Secret of Roan Inish. The film explores Irish folklore, such as the ocean having a spirit, and mythical creatures, like the selkie.
Many Americans choose to spend St. Patty’s day at a bar. American’s stole the idea of a bar from the Irish pub.
Thank the Irish for St. Patrick’s day, and have a good time.
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