As St. Patrick’s day approaches, you’ll see images of a three-leafed clover everywhere, from greeting cards to Shamrock Shakes. But how did a simple clover become associated with St. Patrick’s Day, and Ireland more generally?
The story goes all the way back to the fifth century, more than 1500 years ago! A man named Patrick, who had once been held captive in Ireland, returned to preach Christianity to the Irish. According to the stories, Patrick used a three-leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Since then, Saint Patrick has been credited with converting much of Ireland to Christianity and become Ireland’s patron saint. Every March 17, the Irish (and anyone else who wants to join in) celebrate his saint’s day: Saint Patrick’s Day.
When waves of Irish people immigrated to America, they brought the symbol of the shamrock with them. It became a universal symbol for Ireland and a popular decoration for St. Patrick’s Day. Each shamrock contains a little echo of the beautiful green fields of Ireland, as well as the history of St. Patrick.
If you’re planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your family, there are some fun ways you can add some extra green to your day, and maybe get a little extra luck, too!
1. Eat Green!
Corned beef and cabbage may be traditional for St. Patrick’s day, but who says you can’t start your own tradition? Kids will love the fun of a green meal. Try mixing some fresh mint or chopped green apples into pancakes, or a bit of basil pesto into scrambled eggs for a green breakfast. Or plan a whole green dinner, full of tasty veggies: zucchini fritters, peas, broccoli, salad, kiwi slices, avocado, celery, cucumber sticks, pesto pasta - there are so many options. Or for a simpler treat, mix a bit of lime sherbet into a sprite or ginger ale for “Leprechaun Juice.” Paula Deen has a fabulous recipe for lime sherbet punch.
2. Make Your Very Own Castle
Your kids might enjoy spending some time learning a little about Irish history, and some of the amazing castles there, like Blarney Castle. Then, why not try making your very ow castle out of cardboard boxes. Maybe you’ll even find a pot of gold hidden away in a corner…
3. Play Shamrock Scavenger Hunt
For this twist on an Easter Egg hunt, try hiding chocolate coins around the house or yard. See who can find the most! You could also try hiding paper shamrock cut-outs, and whoever finds the most wins the title of Luckiest Leprechaun.
4. Grow Your Own Shamrocks
Did you know you can grow shamrocks indoors? They come in a few different varieties, and you can usually find them at your local garden center. Planting one in a pretty pot can be a fun activity that will be rewarding for months to come. Just think of it: a pot of shamrocks can be your own personal supply of luck.
5. Take Your Luck with You
If you want to carry a piece of luck with you everywhere you go, a shamrock charm is perfect. As a gift for yourself or for a little one you love, a dainty shamrock charm means you can take the magic of St. Patrick’s day with you everywhere. And who’s luckier than someone with a family full of love?