Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Saint Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day is much more important than most people realize, and is celebrated in many places with parades, songs, and lengthy festivities. *Someday* we'll go somewhere to participate in this!! Yes, I still have my dreams of traveling the globe with the kids. I loved traveling when I was a kid, and want the same experiences for my munchkins. But, anyway...

About Saint Patrick's Day
Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated each year on March 17th. In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is both a holy day and a national holiday. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland as he was the one who brought Christianity to the Irish.

According to legend, Saint Patrick used a shamrock to explain about God. The shamrock, which looks like clover, has three leaves on each stem. Saint Patrick told the people that the shamrock was like the idea of the Trinity – that in the one God there are three divine beings: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The shamrock was sacred to the Druids, so Saint Patrick’s use of it in explaining the trinity was very wise.

Although it began in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world. People with Irish heritage remind themselves of the beautiful green countryside of Ireland by wearing green and taking part in the festivities.

Saint Patrick’s Day is usually celebrated with a parade. The one in Dublin, Ireland is known to some as the Irish Mardi Gras. But the one in New York City is actually one of the biggest. It lasts for hours. Two Irish wolfhounds, the mascots of the New York National Guard infantry regiment the “Fighting 69th”, always lead the parade. More than one hundred bands and a hundred thousand marchers follow the wolfhounds in the parade.

Saint Patrick and the Snakes:
Another tale about Patrick is that he drove the snakes from Ireland. Different versions of the story, tell of him standing upon a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from Ireland.

One version says that an old serpent resisted banishment, but that Patrick outwitted him. Patrick made a box and invited the snake to enter. The snake insisted it was too small and the two argued. Finally to prove his point, the snake entered the box to show how tight the fit was. Patrick slammed the lid closed and threw the box into the sea.

Although it’s true that Ireland has no snakes, this likely had more to do with the fact that Ireland is an island and being separated from the rest of the continent the snakes couldn’t get there. The stories of Saint Patrick and the snakes are likely a metaphor for his bringing Christianity to Ireland and driving out the pagan religions (serpents were a common symbol in many of these religions).
For us, this is a week-long celebration. It would be overwhelming to do all the crafts in a day, and learn about the significance of the holiday.

Yesterday we just talked about the meaning of the holiday, who St. Patrick was, and where Ireland is. I worked with the two littlest people, using the book "Little Blue and Little Yellow", by Leo Lionni to teach them about color mixing.

Then we read Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham and made shamrock pom pom pencil toppers.

I printed out our lapbook mini-books and activities (yes, all 18 pages) from Homeschool Helpers.

Day 2 supplemental activities:

We're going to make these Shamrock Puppies (littlest boys) and the older kids can make button shamrock pins (three green buttons hot glued to a pin) and button covers (green felt cut into Shamrocks, with a slit in the middle.)

The older kids will do their lapbook activities on Ireland's population, traditions, cuisine, history, major cities, and so forth while the littles listen and color their St. Patty's Day pages.

Day 3 (actual St. Patty's Day) activities:
ALL GREEN: Green clothes and dishes
Green-dyed milk and eggs
Green leprechaun dust (pistachio pudding mix) outside that leads to his gold (gold coins,)
Lucky charms for a snack.
Green "tinkle" near the potty (that rascally leprechaun!)
I'd like to make green cupcakes with shamrocks on top
Fingerprint shamrock's on cards to give to grandparents
We'll be dipping our green veggies into green-dyed Ranch

Day 4 supplemental activities:

Red Shamrock Optical Illusion

more books-- always books, books, books.

Finish lapbook pages

Add St. Patrick and Ireland events to the Great Timeline in the kitchen

Day 5 supplemental activities:
to be announced. :-)

And pictures coming!


Farmgirl Paints said...

Awesome post. Thank you for all that information. I didn't know any of it. I loved the Christian ties...who knew:) Happy St. Patty's day to ya!

Just what are those Woods up to? said...

Happy St. Patricks! Great post; I love all your fun activities!