St. Patrick’s Day is known for a lot of things, but did you know it started as a religious holiday in Ireland and was first celebrated in the U.S. to help Irish soldiers feel less homesick?
Share these facts with your kids to give them a better understanding of the legends, superstitions, and history behind the March 17 celebration.
Why do the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick is believed to have died on March 17. He is known for bringing Christianity to Ireland, which is why the day he died is an Irish national holiday.
Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S.?
It all started before we signed the Declaration of Independence. Irish soldiers were fighting for the British Army on American soil, and they held a St. Patrick’s Day parade to help the soldiers feel less homesick through music and friends.
Years later, when the Irish immigrated to the United States, they continued their traditions from their old country in their new country by celebrating the holiday.
What are leprechauns?
According to Irish legend, leprechauns are small, Irish faeries who work very hard as cobblers and craft specialists, earning a lot of gold. But they were very thrifty, and it’s said that leprechauns would bury their gold in pots at the end of the rainbow.
The legend says that if you catch a leprechaun, you can ask him where he hid his gold and he must tell you the truth.
Why do you have to wear green?
It’s tradition that if you don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, anyone is allowed to pinch you.
Why do we eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day?
It all comes down to the other green stuff: money. Corned beef and cabbage used to be the least expensive options for meat and vegetables.
The Irish ate a lot of salted pork in the 19th century, so when Irish immigrants were looking for an American option for salted meat, they found corned beef was the least expensive choice.
They paired it with cabbage because cabbage was (and still is) an inexpensive vegetable in the U.S.
Why do we wear shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day?
Shamrocks are three-leaf clovers that are supposed to give you good luck on St. Patrick’s Day. They represent Ireland’s magic number of three and also represent the Holy Trinity in the Christian religion, which are the Father (God), the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.
Why are four-leaf clovers lucky?
Clover plants don’t naturally produce four-leaf clovers, only three-leaf clovers. Finding a four-leaf clover is quite the anomaly, which makes you very lucky!