I’m not Irish…not one wee bit…but this is one of my favorite feast days! My husband (and hence my children) DO have a wee bit of Irish in them. But like the saying goes…everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!
And who doesn’t love Ireland’s beloved patron saint! One of my favorite legends of St. Patrick is how he used the shamrock to help explain the mystery of the Trinity. One single plant with three leaves just like there is One True God with three separate and distinct Persons.
St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a popular prayer and according to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish King Laoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
But at our house the festivities actually start the night before St. Patrick’s Day. Years ago I read the Legend of the Leprechauns in Family Fun magazine and we’ve been doing this tradition since then.
LEGEND OF THE LEPRECHAUNS (from Family Fun)
Full of magic and trickery, the leprechauns remain in their hidden world until the night before St. Patrick’s Day. On that one night of the year they appear throughout the world to dance and sing and frolic.
Disguising themselves as leaves and grass, and sounding like the wind and the crickets, they come and go unnoticed.
However, it is said that if a decorated treasure box is left empty under the moon, the leprechauns must fill the box with gold or jewels or gifts. But then they will hide the filled box in the most unlikely of places.
If the box is found on St. Patrick’s Day, the treasure remains in our world. If not, the leprechauns may retrieve what is rightfully theirs. And though the leprechauns are very clever, it is not impossible to find the treasure because, unknowingly, leprechauns often leave a trail of greenery behind them.
We have this silly stuffed leprechaun that my mom gave me years ago.
The kids decorate a box and we leave it out when they go to bed and hope the leprechaun comes and fills it with some treats (usually chocolate coins, Hershey’s nuggets – we especially like the milk chocolate with toffee and almonds, and Rolos). He usually brings a new book or some other ‘Irish’ trinket. This year he brought a book I’ve wanted to read with the kids for some time now, The Secret of the Shamrock (Chime Travelers) by Lisa M. Hendey. And he brought a St. Patrick figure by Shining Light Dolls. I love these collectible saint figures…I want them all!
This is one of those days where every meal is a celebration. The day usually starts with a bowl of Lucky Charms (that the leprechaun leaves with the candy ‘treasure’). And for lunch we have green bagels from the local bagel shop.
Dinner is one-pot ham, cabbage, potatoes, and string beans. And I usually make corned beef in the crock pot too (this year I added a bottle (or 2) of Guinness to the crock pot). And I get these really yummy ‘shamrock’ ravioli at Costco that we serve with pesto sauce.
For dessert we have Irish soda bread, Irish potatoes (candy) with a hot cup of Irish breakfast tea.
May St. Patrick guard you
wherever you go,
and guide you in whatever you do–
and may his loving protection
be a blessing to you always.