MCM Pots of Gold  

patrick

As part of our multi-cultural activities, this week we will travel to Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day is a big party for everything to do with the country, Ireland – it’s people, art, religion and all the things Irish people like to do. It happens every year on March 17, which marks the date when St. Patrick died. In Ireland, everybody has the day off work and school on St Patrick’s Day. St Patrick was born a long time ago, about 385 AD in the United Kingdom. When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by a group of bad Irish raiders and forced to become a slave in Ireland. After six years being a shepherd, he finally escaped to France and became a priest, then later a bishop. When he was about 60 years old, St. Patrick returned to Ireland to spread the Christian word. There are many legends about St. Patrick.  One story states that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland.  He didn’t really drive snakes out of Ireland.  The snakes represent the pagans he converted to Christianity. He used the shamrock, which resembles a three-leafed clover, as a symbol to explain the concept of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). The shamrock is now the official flower of Ireland. The highest number of leaves found on a shamrock clover was 14.  It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Legend says that finding a four-leaf clover on St. Patrick’s Day will bring you luck.  Each cloverleaf represents something different. First leaf represents hope, second leaf represents faith, third leaf represents love and the fourth leaf represents luck. Did you know that the original color for St. Patrick was blue?  In Irish legends and stories green was worn by fairies and immortals. It was also believed that wearing green would help make a good growing season for their crops in Ireland.  Green became the color for St. Patrick’s Day in the early 19th century.  The harp is the symbol of Ireland. The color green represents Ireland.  Ireland is also called “The Emerald Isle.” The Irish flag is green, white and orange.  Green represents the people of the South, Orange represents the people of the North and White represents the peace that brings the North and South together. Dublin is the capital of Ireland. In Dublin they celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 15th -19th.  During the St. Patrick’s Day Festival there is a parade, carnival, treasure hunt and dances. In Ireland people wear shamrocks on their jackets and hats. Children wear green, white and orange (colors of their flag) and girls wear green ribbons in their hair. All around the world people celebrate St Patty’s day – not just people from Ireland or of Irish descent. They wear green clothes and eat traditional Irish food like Irish stew or corned beef and cabbage and drink Irish beer like Guinness. Green is part of Saint Patrick’s Day because it’s the color of spring and many people wear green on St Pat’s Day. One of the Irish traditions is to pinch anyone who is not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. The most common St Patrick’s Day symbol is the shamrock. The shamrock is a leaf from the clover plant. It’s a myth that the shamrock can only grow in Ireland – the three-leaf clover grows all over the world – from Tasmania to England. Symbols like the pot-of-gold at the end of a rainbow and leprechauns are also associated with St. Patrick’s Day. The leprechauns are small Irish fairies. They are unfriendly little men who live alone in the forest, spending time making shoes and guarding their gold treasures. They store their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  If a leprechaun is caught by a human they have special powers to grant that human three wishes.  Once those wishes are granted the human has to let the leprechaun go. If you catch a leprechaun, he’ll be forced to tell you where he hides his pots of gold. However, the leprechaun must be watched at all times. If his captor looks away, the leprechaun will vanish along with his treasure. Make sure to check in with Dee. She might have some Irish songs and dances in store for you;)