St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. Born in Britain during the 4th century, St. Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish raiders when he was a teenager. Although he was able to escape after six years and become a priest in Britain, he later chose to return to Ireland as a missionary, in order to help spread the teachings of Christianity to pagans. According to Irish folklore, he also used a shamrock to explain the Christian concept of Trinity to the Irish. In spite of continuous opposition from pagan leaders, he continued to evangelize for thirty years while baptizing newly converted Christians and establishing monasteries, churches, and schools. He died on March 17th and was canonized by the local church.
The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.
When the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland in 1845, close to a million poor and uneducated Irish Catholics began pouring into America to escape starvation.
Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia.
Chicago is famous for a somewhat peculiar annual event: dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday. That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river—enough to keep it green for a week!
I made these for the moms in my MOPS group. I found small clay pots at the dollar store and colored them with a sharpie. You could paint them too, but this was faster and dried instantly. I filled them with a little yellow shredded paper and made rainbows from pipe cleaners I also got at the dollar store. I filled them with rolos and twix!
HERE is a cute printable card
SLOW COOKER CORN BEEF AND CABBAGE
The slow cooker is the perfect way to go for this traditional dish, since it must bubble away untended for hours, in any event. Be sure to serve with crusty bread, and Dijon mustard and horseradish on the side.
- 4 cups hot water
- 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 1 3-lb. corned beef round or brisket, packaged with spices
- 8 small white or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
- 1 head of green cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cored and cut into 10 wedges
- In a 6-quart electric slow cooker, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, pepper and onions, mixing well. Place the corned beef in the mixture. Scatter the potatoes over the top and along the sides.
- Cover and cook on the High heat setting 4 hours. Remove the lid and scatter the cabbage wedges over the top. Cover and continue cooking on High 3 to 4 hours longer, or until the beef is tender. To serve, carve the beef into slices and serve with the cabbage and potatoes, with some of the cooking liquid spooned on top of the beef to keep it moist. Makes 6 to 8 servings.