Quick Update St Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day: Fun Facts and Useful Vocabulary

Posted by Lingoda Team | Mar 15, 2020

St Patrick’s Day commercialism

While the day has taken on a commercial aspect in recent times and has grown into a general celebration of ‘Irishness’, the real purpose is to commemorate Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Held on 17th March, it is a public holiday in both the Republic Ireland and Northern Ireland, and is celebrated in many more countries.

English with Lucy also has some great idioms related to St Patrick’s day and the colour green.

Origins of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the life of Saint Patrick, one of the most significant figures in Irish Catholic history. However, interestingly, Saint Patrick was not actually Irish and was in fact born in Britain in the late 4th century. According to his own writings, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland at the age of 16.

It is believed that Saint Patrick was held captive in Ireland for six years, working as a shepherd. After hearing a voice in his dreams, which he believed to be God, he escaped back to Britain, studied Christianity and became a priest. He then returned to Ireland, where he spent many years converting the inhabitants to Christianity.

Myths and legends

A popular myth developed over the years, claiming that Saint Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. However, according to various experts, the region was never actually home to snakes at any point. In fact, this story is more likely to be a metaphor for the way Saint Patrick helped to drive the pagan traditions out of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on 17th March, which is believed to have been the date Saint Patrick died. Many historians place the year of his death at or around 460 AD, although some cite the later date of 493 AD. Regardless, the mythology surrounding Saint Patrick took hundreds of years to grow, with the first St. Patrick’s Day celebrations taking place in either the 9th or 10th century and initially consisting of a simple feast day.

How is St. Patrick’s Day celebrated today?

Religious celebrations connected to St. Patrick’s Day typically include attending church services and enjoying a feast. Indeed, those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day are given an exemption from the restrictions on food and alcohol associated with Lent, and this is likely to be the reason why drinking became such a significant part of the occasion.

As with many other holidays, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations extend beyond the church and many people now celebrate the day more generally. Modern celebrations, which often consist of drinking Irish alcohol, wearing green, attending parades and listening to Irish music, have been influenced by the Irish diaspora, which resulted in Irish people emigrating to other parts of the world, including Britain and the United States.

St. Patrick’s Day is an official holiday in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as the province of Newfoundland in Canada, which has a significant Irish population. However, the day is widely celebrated in the United States, Great Britain and many other parts of the world as well.

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St. Patrick’s Day remains a celebration of the patron saint of Ireland and of Irish culture, which means it naturally appeals to those with Irish heritage. However, the holiday has grown in significance to such an extent that many people with no link to Ireland join in the fun. These people often describe themselves as ‘Irish at heart’.

Fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day

  • Despite being the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in Great Britain.
  • The colour green did not become associated with St. Patrick’s Day until the 18th century.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
  • It is estimated that more than 30 million Americans have Irish ancestry.
  • Saint Patrick is said to have used a shamrock as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity during his teachings.
  • Foods associated with St. Patrick’s Day include corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.
  • Although the holiday is associated with Ireland, the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in New York.
  • Pubs in Ireland were actually closed on St. Patrick’s Day until the 1970s!

St. Patrick’s Day vocabulary

Whether you are out and about on St. Patrick’s Day, or simply learning about the holiday, you are likely to encounter some unfamiliar words along the way. In order to help you out, we have compiled a quick St. Patrick’s Day vocabulary guide, featuring some of the most common words associated with the celebration.


Three-leaf clover, which is used as a symbol of Ireland.

Emerald Isle

Nickname for Ireland, coined by the poet William Drennan.


Small mythical creature with magical powers, associated with Ireland.


Another name for a violin, featured heavily in traditional Irish music.

Four-leaf clover

A four-leaf variant of the clover, often viewed as a good luck charm.

St. Paddy’s Day

An informal name for St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish tricolour

Name given to the national flag of Ireland.

Pot of gold

An imaginary reward, associated with leprechauns and said to be found at the end of a rainbow.


A brand of Irish dry stout, which is the most popular alcoholic drink in Ireland.


A weapon, similar to a club, featured heavily in Irish folklore.

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St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day observes of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking and a whole lot of green.

Quick Update: St Patrick’s Day

On March 17, everyone likes to feel a little Irish. St. Patrick’s Day is a great holiday for kids and adults alike. It is a lot of fun to learn about the history of St. Patrick’s Day, to hunt for leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, and that lucky pot ‘o gold.

St. Patrick’s Day Tradition – There are many traditions and activities that help celebrate the life of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, the emerald island. With your children, locate Ireland on a map and research about the history of St. Patrick’s Day, the shamrock, the Blarney Stone and where leprechauns come from. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide with people dancing and singing, watching St. Patrick’s Day parades, eating green food, wearing green clothes (and pinching those who aren’t wearing green!)

Clovers Everywhere – Shamrocks are three-leafed clovers, and if you find a four-leafed clover, you are thought to be lucky! Decorate your house for the holiday. Create a centerpiece from pots of shamrocks (clover) that can often be found at this time of year in local supermarkets. Add some gold ribbons and shamrock garlands to the pot to make them even more festive.

For a great art project, cut shamrock shapes from coffee filters and have children add green and yellow colored water to the shamrock.

For the St. Patrick’s Day parade, make a green shamrock bracelet by cutting a one-inch strip off a paper roll and paint green. Cut four heart shapes out of green craft paper and glue together to make a shamrock.

Five Green Shamrocks
Place 5 paper shamrocks on the felt board or on the floor.

5 little shamrocks growing outside my door,
(child’s name) picked one, and then there were 4.

4 little shamrocks, green as green could be,
(child’s name) picked one, and then there were 3.

3 little shamrocks, sitting by my shoe,
(child’s name) picked one, and then there were 2.

2 little shamrocks, enjoying the sun,
(child’s name) picked one and that left 1.

1 little shamrock for Saint Patrick’s Day fun,
(child’s name) picked it, and that left none.
(Author unknown)

Green, Green and More Green

Green is the theme of the day! Just about every child knows and loves the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

Simply tint some eggs green with a little food coloring and serve for breakfast. Read the story to your child as they eat their green treat. Prepare a green-themed dinner of pesto pasta and green veggies for dinner and don’t forget the green cupcakes for dessert! Green Eggs and Ham Recipe.

For a greeen drink use a drop of green food coloring to make green lemonade for the kids.

Graphing activity: Do you like green eggs and ham?В

A leprechaun Visit – Leprechauns are little Irish fairies, and they are thought to be shoemakers. The Irish say that if a leprechaun is caught by a human, he will reveal where he hides his pot of gold. The night before St. Patrick’s Day, do some harmless pranks and mess up the family-room after your children are in bed. Think of as many silly things as you can that your children will notice in the morning. Leave little gold coins or gold nuggets (beans sprayed golden) lying around. Hide a scroll (letter from the leprechaun – find print version at KidsSoup.com) for your children to find. Read the letter together and tell your children about the mischievous leprechauns and their pot of gold. Together write a letter to the leprechaun asking him about his life and to please clean up next time he plays in your house. Discuss how you could catch a leprechaun and make a leprechaun trap together. If you are lucky enough to capture a Leprechaun don’t take your eyes of the Leprechaun for even a second or he will disappear. Happy leprechaun hunting.

Leprechaun Song
(Tune: I’m a Little Teapot)

I’m a little leprechaun
quick as can be.
I hid my gold
under a tree.
If you see a rainbow
you may find
where I left
my gold behind!
(Author unknown)

With a bit of the luck of the Irish, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can be fun and entertaining for adults and kids, and you might just create new traditions for your family.

Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day, feast day (March 17) of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but returned about 432 to convert the Irish to Christianity. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, he had established monasteries, churches, and schools. Many legends grew up around him—for example, that he drove the snakes out of Ireland and used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Ireland came to celebrate his day with religious services and feasts.

It was emigrants, particularly to the United States, who transformed St. Patrick’s Day into a largely secular holiday of revelry and celebration of things Irish. Cities with large numbers of Irish immigrants, who often wielded political power, staged the most extensive celebrations, which included elaborate parades. Boston held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737, followed by New York City in 1762. Since 1962 Chicago has coloured its river green to mark the holiday. (Although blue was the colour traditionally associated with St. Patrick, green is now commonly connected with the day.) Irish and non-Irish alike commonly participate in the “wearing of the green”—sporting an item of green clothing or a shamrock, the Irish national plant, in the lapel. Corned beef and cabbage are associated with the holiday, and even beer is sometimes dyed green to celebrate the day. Although some of these practices eventually were adopted by the Irish themselves, they did so largely for the benefit of tourists.

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