St. Patrick’s Day History and Party Ideas

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Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  St. Patrick’s Day or St. Patty’s Day is a national holiday of Ireland and is celebrated as a Christian feast day or festival by the Catholic Church of Ireland.  St. Patrick is said to be one of the first Christian missionaries to travel around spreading the Christian faith. March 17 marks his death. The first parade celebrating St. Patty’s Day here in the United States was in the early 1700’s. Leave it to us to turn it into a party–any excuse, right?

As the holiday has evolved over the years the leprechaun has become the mascot, of sorts. This little guy dressed in green is considered to be an Irish mythology fairy with the reputation of being mischievous and a bit of a prankster. Those who do not wear green run the risk of being pinched by the leprechaun.  So don’t forget to wear some green!  Others say he is a shoemaker that hid all his gold or treasure in a pot at the end of the rainbow.  Green is symbolic of the Irish flag, springtime and shamrocks. Shamrocks (or 3 leaf clovers) were used by St. Patrick to explain the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to convert people to Christianity.

So now that we know everything about the holiday, let’s plan a party! If your town has a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, work that into your plans.  You could enjoy the parade with your family and friends and then bring the party home.  Emerald green is the color of choice to eat, drink and wear.  Here are a few ideas:

Appetizers

  • Guacamole and chips
  • Hot spinach dip and Irish soda bread

Main Dish

  • Corned beef and cabbage
  • Spareribs w/sauerkraut
  • Irish Stew
  • Roast or Lamb
  • Sausage or Ham

Side Dish

  • Boiled new potatoes
  • Mashed potatoes (tint green)
  • Green vegetables
  • Cabbage
  • Sauerkraut

Desserts

  • Shamrock shaped cookies (green)
  • Lime sherbet
  • Cupcakes with a decorated theme
  • Green M&M’s or green jellybeans

Drinks

  • Irish green beer
  • Irish whiskey
  • Irish coffee
  • Irish Punch

If you need recipes for any of the above, there are many wonderful websites.  One of my favorites is All Recipes.com.  My Aunt Mollie recommended this website to me years ago and I continue to use it today!  Happy hunting!

 

Visit your local dollar store or the dollar bins at Target for ideas on party favors and decorations.  Use the party hats to fill with candy or treats.  Include a pot (the pot at the end of your rainbow) as a center piece and fill it with gold covered chocolate coins.  Add a few green and white balloons with shamrocks. Hang a map of Ireland.

When your guests arrive, hand them a button that says, “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”.  Don’t forget the music—pick up a CD of Irish Celtic, Bagpipes or Irish Folk songs.  Popular U.S. Irish artists include Enya and The Irish Tenors.  Now all that is left to do is kick up your heels and enjoy your party and guests.

Maybe you would prefer to forego the party at home for a party at your local pub or restaurant.  Many celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a big way, so call ahead for reservations.  Don’t forget to wear green, unless you want a little attention and a few pinches.

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