Family Traditions for St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick's Day display on wooden table. Green, pistachio pudding served in individual clear glasses with ornate gold spoons. Gold foil chocolate coins and Lucky Leprechaun note displayed on table.

St. Patrick’s Day is an entertaining holiday to celebrate with your family whether of Irish descent or not. The wearin’ o’ the green begins this lucky day as one chooses to don a full outfit or wear at least one piece of green to ward off motivated pinchers. This traditional St. Patrick’s Day game, according to folklore, follows the belief that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns. This is lucky because mischievous leprechauns like to pinch people. You get pinched for not wearing green.

Leprechauns are often depicted as tricky, little, bearded men in a jacket and hat of green. Each leprechaun is believed to have a pot of gold hidden away somewhere in the Irish countryside, possibly at the end of a rainbow. It is said that if you were to catch one of these lone fairies, he must then turn over his golden treasure to you. But don’t think you can just sneak up on a leprechaun, they are known to be magical, mystical, and very clever. It’s possible you may pass by a leprechaun and not even know it.

Other traditions historically observed on St. Patrick’s Day by many families, including ours, features a classic Irish meal serving corned beef, cabbage, and Irish Soda Bread. For us, the centerpiece for this meal is our shamrock potted plant brought home on St. Patrick’s Day many years ago. The shamrock, meaning ‘young clover’, is a familiar symbol of Ireland. This three-leaf clover was used by Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. While shamrocks have religious ties, four-leaf clovers are associated with luck. Apparently, Ireland is home to more four-leaf clovers than anywhere else in the world. Perhaps this gives meaning to the phrase, ‘the luck of the Irish.’ If ever you happen upon a four-leaf clover, keep it as a good luck charm! For a fun ending to our St. Patrick’s Day dinner, a gold coin is discovered under each plate at the table – chocolate coins for the littlest ones and gold dollars for the older children. What luck!

Celebrating annual holidays like St. Patrick’s Day binds your family together with tradition, the rhythm of the seasons, brings joy to common days and ties you and your loved ones with lasting memories. This St. Patrick’s Day, it’s good to remember that you don’t have to be Irish to be lucky.

I would like to share one of our family’s St. Patrick’s Day traditions with you to enjoy with your little ones. To the delight of our young children, a leprechaun treat was magically delivered to our front door each lucky St. Patrick’s Day.

FREE! Magic Leprechaun Note

materials: printer paper, scissors, instant pistachio pudding mix *SAFETY: contains nuts, basket or small bag, 2 cups cold milk, mixing bowl, whisk, small serving bowls

  1. download and print leprechaun-sized note onto printer paper
  2. use scissors to cut out note, follow lines to create accordion fold
  3. remove pudding mix bag from box, insert into basket
  4. attach prepared leprechaun note to basket
  5. secretly set basket on front porch or hang from door knob, ring door bell
  6. accompany your child to answer the door
  7. your child discovers Lucky Leprechaun’s delivery!
  8. read note and recipe directions
  9. assist child in preparing Magic Leprechaun Powder into a green surprise!
  10. enjoy a Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Janet Nicole Meyer

Janet Nicole Meyer

The founder and author of Golden Days at Home preschool curriculum savors all opportunities to play and travel with her now grown children. She and her husband hike, bike and enjoy living on a stream in Boulder, Colorado with their elderly English Mastiff, Roxy.

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2 Responses

  1. I loved doing this as a child, mom, and I love thinking about it as an adult–still makes me laugh. <3 you, Nicole

    1. Hahaha! It always made me laugh too and chuckle as I was secretly playing the part of Lucky Leprechaun timing the magical surprise for you and your brothers and sister to find!

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