Reading about this history of Saint Patrick's day will help you complete your Saint Patrick's Day writing journal. The way Saint Patrick's day become a mainstream holiday in America is quite interesting. (The free Saint Patrick's Day Journal can be downloaded at the end of the post. The journal has writing prompts to inspire your creative writing in March)
How did Saint Patrick's Day become a holiday in America?
Irish Roman-Catholics began honoring Saint Patrick's Roman-Catholic Feast day in the 10th century. This was 5 centuries after Saint Patrick died. It is believed that Saint Patrick died on March 17th. This day happened to be in the middle of the season of Lent.
Lent restrictions were eased for Saint Patrick's Day, allowing these Irish to celebrate by eating, drinking, and dancing. Lamb and ham were traditional meats to dine on for the Feast of St. Patrick's Day.
Saint Patrick's Day in America
In the 1700s, the first Saint Patrick's Day parade was held in Boston, Massachusetts. Next,Irish Catholics came to America to escape the Potato Famine, St. Patrick's Day increased in prominence.
Many in American society mocked and oppressed Irish Roman-Catholic immigrants at the time. Celebrating a saint from their Roman Catholic religion was one way the Irish Roman-Catholics were able to establish solidarity and resist oppression. Irish-Americans stopped eating ham or lamb on Saint Patrick's Day. The Irish in America started buying brisket from the Jewish shops in their neighborhoods. This brisket eventually became the meal of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. Corned Beef, cabbage and potatoes is the meal that is now popular to eat on Saint Patrick's Day.
Saint Patrick's Day Today
Now, many people celebrate Saint Patrick's Day all over the world. Saint Patrick's Day is the most popular in American, Canada and Australia. People celebrate Saint Patrick's Day elsewhere around the world, including places in Asia and Russia.
St. Patrick's Day Shamrock
First, the Shamrock is a 3-leaf clover, not the 4-leaf clovers that many believe are lucky. An Irish legend says that Saint Patrick used the Shamrock to discuss the Holy Trinity during his missionary work. Each of Shamrock's 3 leaves represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Christian belief. Today however, both the Shamrock and Four-Leaf Clover are associated with Saint Patrick's day.
Another thing that helped the Shamrock's elevation as a symbol of Ireland is that it grows everywhere in Ireland. Thus, the Shamrock has always been available to everyone, regardless of social status. Irish people who didn't have a lot of money could pick Shamrocks to enjoy because Shamrocks grew everywhere.
The people of Ireland wore Shamrocks on their clothing and displayed Shamrocks in their homes. This is similar to today's practice where we may put a rose in a lapel or gift a bouquet of roses. So Shamrocks became part of Irish culture, along with leprechauns.
Saint Patrick's Day Symbols
The Leprechaun has been in Irish folklore for centuries. Leprechauns were originally grouchy old men who were ornery, tiny, and red. Leprechauns were believed to shoemakers who hoarded their gold and hid it at the end of rainbows.
It's unknown why the red leprechauns turned into the green leprechauns that we know today. One theory is that leprechauns turned themselves from red to green for camouflage. Or that everything that became associated with Ireland was green.
People still believe that spotting a leprechaun is good luck. Even in modern times people believe if they can catch a leprechaun, they will be rewarded with a pot of his gold.
Saint Patrick's Inspiration
St. Patrick's Day shows how the celebration of oppressed immigrants is now part of mainstream culture. In today's world, everyone is Irish for a day! This serves as an inspirational piece of history for each of us.
Learning about St. Patrick's Day
It's beneficial for everyone to learn something about St. Patrick's Day. Adults can learn about Irish folklore. Kids can enjoy the fun of leprechauns and rainbows with their families. We can become familiar with its history. Learning about culture and practice always stimulates brain growth and personal growth.
I taught my daycare kids about St. Patrick's Day. They really enjoyed the story of how St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Ireland became part of our map curriculum as well.
My husband and I mainly celebrate with food. We enjoy colcannon, corned beef and cabbage every March. One of my grandmothers always made corned beef and cabbage when I was growing up. She and my grandfather would invite us over for dinner. This is really the only traditional dinner we had besides Thanksgiving. However, where I live it's not common for people to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the traditional Irish-American meal.
This year I decided to celebrate Saint Patrick's day in another way. I'm using Saint Patrick's Day as an opportunity to write creatively. Creative writing helps my non-fiction writing. I'm sharing it with others who want to use their imagination and write about leprechauns and luck! This journal is free for personal use and I have included it as a download. (You can download it at the end of this post)
Saint Patrick's Day Writing Prompts
This is the list of pages for the free Saint Patrick's Day journal. There are 9 pages with writing prompts. The video shows what the journal looks like. Another option is to write down a few of the prompts from this post. Use these prompts to write in your own personal journal.
(The journal can be directly-downloaded at the bottom of this post.)
- Pretend that you have found a four-leaf clover that will bring you extraordinary good luck for exactly one day. Write about your lucky day. (Read why 4-leaf clovers are considered lucky here)
- What does it mean to get a “lucky break”? Write about a time when you got one. (Consider something that didn't seem lucky at the time but with hindsight, turned out to be lucky.
- Do you believe in leprechauns? Why or why not? (Consider how your culture contributes to your belief/disbelief. For example, I don't believe in leprechauns but I somewhat believe in Bigfoot. My Bigfoot belief is directly related to living in the PNW for 20 years.)
- What would you do if you saw a leprechaun?
- How would life be different if everyone had light green skin and green hair? (Consider if this would effect equality in your society)
- Plan a St. Patrick's Day Party. What will you do? What will you eat?
- Make a list of everything you know about Ireland. (Complete this page after reading here about Ireland.)
- Draw a four leaf clover. In the center write, I am lucky because. Then write a different way you are lucky on each of the four leaves.
- You have caught a leprechaun, and he has given you a pot of gold in exchange for his freedom. What do you do with it? ( How much gold? Will you trade it in? How would you explain it? Give details of exactly what you would do with it and why)
Use the Free St. Patrick's Journal for personal use or in a classroom.
Teachers are welcome to use the Saint Patrick's Journal in their classrooms. Classroom student's can use the journal prompts to write their own stories. Use the pages to support lesson plans about Ireland or leprechauns. Adapt the journal and prompts for homeschooling, adapted to the student's grade or skill level.
If you like this journal you may like my other Saint Patrick's Day Items:
This St. Patrick's Day Journal for March can only be used for Personal Use or for One Classroom
I would love to hear about how you celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. Leave a comment below.