Every year, on March 17, people around the world come together to celebrate the traditional and religious feast day of St. Patrick, who is the beloved patron Saint of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most celebrated religious holidays throughout the world. Parades are held, people wear green, flowers are dyed green, corned beef and cabbage along with Irish soda bread and scones are favorites for the day.

Not much is known about the life of St. Patrick but it is believed that he was born in Britain and captured by Irish raiders at the age of 16, brought to Ireland and sold as a slave. Patrick was held captive for about six years and lived the life of a lonely shepherd. This is when Patrick rediscovered God and began praying day and night. He became a devout Christian. One day, in a dream, he heard a voice urging him to leave Ireland and return home to Britain. He took this message as a sign from God and did as he was told. He escaped and found a ship that was willing to take him back home to Britain.

Once home, Patrick decided to go to France and underwent deep religious training. He returned to Ireland after 15 years and helped convert the Irish to Christianity. Patrick used a three-leaf clover to help the people understand the meaning of one God the Father, Jesus His only begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit as being all part of the same three leaf clover.

Thanks to St. Patrick, the Celtic cross evolved when Patrick attached the sun, a strong Irish symbol, to it.

So on March 17, we celebrate the legacy of St. Patrick and the Irish culture which has helped to connect all people of Irish descent and acknowledge their contributions to the world.

The story of St. Patrick is truly an inspiring story for children. They can enjoy learning about the Holy Trinity by making three leaf clovers of their own and labeling each part with a family member. Coloring in a flag of Ireland and helping them locate the country of Ireland in an atlas book would help bring in a geography lesson as well. Follow the route from Britain to Ireland and let them see what waters they would travel over. Make lime jell-o or enjoy pistachio ice cream after dinner with Irish soda bread or cream-filled scones for dessert. You might want to make spinach or broccoli with pasta in a butter-cheese sauce and tell the children that it’s a special recipe from the leprechauns’ for St. Patrick’s Day. It works for me all the time at Little Explorers. Don’t forget to wear green unless you want to get pinched!!!!

Whatever your preference, I hope you enjoy watching the parade or even being in it. Enjoy your corned beef and cabbage and “Erin go bragh!”

I’d like to close by sharing one of my favorite Irish sayings.

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.