St. Patrick’s Day History and Party Ideas

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St. Patrick's Day Sign with Shamrock

Just a little St. Patrick’s Day History and Party Ideas for those who are Irish or Irish-at-heart this time of year!  Why then, do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? After all, it is a great excuse to throw a party!  But, St. Patrick’s Day or St. Patty’s Day is a national holiday of Ireland and is interestingly enough, celebrated as a Christian feast day or otherwise known as a festival by the Catholic Church of Ireland. While St. Patrick is celebrated as the first Christian missionary to travel about spreading the Christian faith, it is, however, his death on March 17 that we celebrate.  And then, we began celebrating St. Patty’s Day here in the United States in the early 1700’s. So, leave it to us to turn it into a party–any excuse, right?

To explain, over the years and as the holiday evolved, the leprechaun became the mascot, of sorts. In fact, this Irish mythological fairy dressed in green has the reputation of being mischievous and a bit of a prankster. Hence the need to wear green, otherwise, you run the risk of being pinched by the leprechaun, so the story goes. But then there are those who say he is a shoemaker that hid all his gold or treasure in a pot at the end of the rainbow.  The color green is symbolic of the Irish flag, springtime and shamrocks and therefore the color of choice for St. Patty’s Day.  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! Likely, your town has a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, therefore, work that into your plans. 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 just 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.  My favorite is All Recipes.com.  My Aunt Mollie recommended this website to me years ago and I continue to use it today!  Happy hunting!

 

Meanwhile, check your local dollar store or the dollar bins at Target for great ideas and the best deals on party favors and decorations.  A cute party hat can be filled with candy or treats.  A pot (you know, the pot at the end of your rainbow) can be used as a center piece and filled with gold covered chocolate coins.  Add a few green and white balloons around with shamrocks. Hang a map of Ireland. To be sure, the ideas are endless with just a little imagination!

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 the party and your guests.

Maybe you prefer to forego the home party in lieu of a party at your local pub or restaurant.  There are many who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a big way, so call ahead for reservations.  And don’t forget to wear green, unless you want a little attention and a few pinches.

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