Today is St. Patrick's Day!
Does this make you think of...
lucky 4-leaf clovers, leprochauns, and pots of gold?
parades and parties and coloring the Chicago River green?
Is everybody Irish??
Well, I may not be Irish...BUT...this holiday has become one of my favorites to celebrate with my family in recent years! See, I used to think of all these things when March 17th rolled around, until a few years ago - when I read the real story of St. Patrick.
He wasn't actually Irish! He was born of Italian parents who were stationed in Scotland during the late 300's, overseeing Roman settlements up there. And he was a Christian. The pagan tribes that lived in Ireland captured him when he was a boy, and carried him off to be a slave. He always kept his faith in God and prayed all day long, every day. He also grew to have compassion for his captors. At the age of twenty he escaped back home again - but dreamed of returning to Ireland to bring the Gospel into that dark place.
So he became a priest and eventually did travel back to Ireland. He lived in poverty and danger - the tribes wanted to kill him at first. But eventually they listened to his message of Truth and the Good News of Jesus Christ...and as the story goes, by the time of his death some 40 years later - the entire nation had become Christian and many churches were planted!
St. Patrick's Day began as a Christian holiday - a celebration in honor of this hero of our Faith - remembering him for his total devotion to and trust in God, his gentleness and compassion.
And this is something I want my kiddos to think about when March 17 rolls around!
...a few fun little projects...
first we made some simple little shamrocks to hang from our dining room lights
We only cut 3 leaves into our clovers because a true shamrock is not a lucky four-leaf clover! This little plant became the symbol of St. Patrick because he used their 3-sectioned leaves to explain the concept of the Trinity to the Irish tribesmen!
...for lunch : shamrock toasties...
These were fun to make, although I confess my kids ended up picking off the peppers!
We spread english muffins with garlic butter (smashed garlic mixed with softened butter)
Then topped them with a slice of cheese (monterey jack is what I had in the fridge today!)
I made the shamrocks by slicing a green pepper into rings, then cutting off one of the sections.
The remaining three loops curve around into a shamrock & a little slice of the discarded ring is the stem.
(I found this idea over at Catholic Cuisine, along with a TON of other recipes and suggestions for celebrating this - and many more - holidays with your family.)
...for dinner tonight : Corned Beef, boiled potatoes, carrots & cabbage, Irish soda bread & salad...
and also some Pistaccio Fluffy Salad, one of my family's favorites
here's what's in it (it's not healthy, but it makes a great treat!)
just mix all of these together & you've got a yummy green treat!
Wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day!!