St. Patrick’s day is such a FUN holiday. You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate. As with other holidays, I think it is great when you can learn the facts, and there are plenty of fun facts about St. Patrick’s day!
Learning about the Leprechaun
Leprechauns are mythical beings who originally resided in Ireland long before humans did! You may be surprised to learn they are fairies. (If their small size and magical powers didn’t give that fact away!) According to legend, there are only male leprechauns, and since they are magic, we don’t have to worry about how more leprechauns appear. Research by historians suggest that Leprechauns wore red, not green, in the early days of their existence. This author’s theory is that red was worn long before the clever fairies had to hide from humans. The switch to green was made so they were hard to detect among the clover! What do you think?
As fashion changes were introduced into Ireland, the leprechaun too advanced his look until he found his iconic style. The Leprechaun chooses from a top hat or a bowler hat equally. He also, being a cobbler (shoe maker) by trade, fashions himself black shoes with a gold buckle. Ever the trickster, do not be surprised if the hat or shoes are some variation of the typical leprechaun fashion. This would be the leprechauns attempt at not being captured, because further legend tells us that if captured a leprechaun will grant you 3 wishes!
Fun Facts about St. Patrick
There are many legends surrounding the life of Patrick and how he became the Bishop associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Learning about these legends and St. Patrick is a great activity for your March homeschool studies. A legend is a story based in tradition. Sometimes there is historical truth in the story, but the story can’t always be proven. Because the St. Patrick’s Day legends occurred so long ago, before accurate records were kept, most people believe them based on faith, or trust. It is important to learn as much as we can about the history behind holidays so we can celebrate them as they were intended.
We celebrate St. Patrick’s day in honor of the 5th century bishop – Patrick! You can’t really have a discussion about: fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day, without exploring the life of the Saint that the day honors. Patrick is the Patron saint of Ireland – meaning he is seen by the Irish as their protector. He spent many of his adult years teaching the people of Ireland about Christianity, but Patrick was not even Irish!
Patrick’s early life
Patrick was born in Brittan when it was part of the Roman Empire. Many say he was born in England, but he may also have been born in Scotland or Wales. We do know he was NOT born in Ireland! Patrick was first introduced to Ireland when he was 16. He was kidnapped by Irish Pirates and taken to Ireland where he spent 6 years as a slave. (not really a fun fact, but necessary to our story.) Although Patrick was raised by Christian parents, he did not believe in God. However, while he was captive, he decided to pray. This time was critical in Patrick’s conversion to Christianity. Patrick wrote a memoir (now published as Confession of St. Patrick) , in which he talks about how God took mercy on him and helped him escape.
After Patrick was able to return to his family in England, he continued to study Christianity for many years. When he was a Bishop, he asked to return to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick had learned a lot about the people of Ireland in his 6 years as a captive, and he would learn even more as he worked to baptize and teach them until the end of his life. The people of Ireland at the time were not familiar with the concept of Christianity and one God. They were what we refer to as Pagans, having many gods.
The legend of the shamrock
It is said Patrick used the Shamrock (one version of the clover species) to teach about the Holy Trinity. The three leaves in one symbolize the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one supreme being. The shamrock is now a symbol of Ireland as well. The clover we call a shamrock grew wild all over Ireland so it was very familiar and comforting to the people, just as the idea of God was meant to be. Patrick was teaching the people very new ideas at the time. It was very wise of him to use things that were familiar to the people to help them understand.
You can make your own Blessed Trinity Craft to celebrate St. Patrick’s day and to remind YOU of the love of God! It is available for FREE in both the CURRICULUM CLUB (registration required) as well as in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store!
The Most Famous Legend
Another fun fact about St. Patrick’s day is that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. This is a great story, but likely just a legend, and not true. There were no snakes in Ireland to begin with. Going way back into time when all the land of Earth was connected, the area that we now know as Ireland went through an Ice Age -a time far too frigid for our cold-blooded friends the snake.
As years pass and the ice covering the land melts, the land separates. (We are talking Y E A R S passing here…) The water surrounding what is now lovingly referred to as the Emerald Island fills with melted ice and is far to cold for snakes to have traveled in from nearby land masses. Remember, legends are stories that pass down by word of mouth, and Patrick did wonderful things for the people of Ireland. It’s fun to think of Patrick helping the Irish overcome their pagan ways and become more like Christ. Perhaps driving the snakes out was simply a symbolic story.
Wearing Green – the #1 thing associated with St. Patrick’s Day
You don’t have to be Irish to wear green on St. Patrick’s day. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to wear green and celebrate. Being Irish is the origin of wearing green on March 17th. After St. Patrick died, he was honored, mostly in Ireland. The people remembered him every year on the day of his death, by wearing shamrocks on their clothes as a symbol of both Irish pride and pride as Christians. As the people of Ireland moved to different countries, their legends moved with them. Soon others began to honor Patrick and his good works by wearing green on St. Patrick’s day!
Be sure to check out the Homeschool Holiday original video with some legends & fun facts about St. Patrick’s day!
How to explore St. Patrick’s Day Legends and Fun Facts
You can dive deeper into St. Patrick’s Day Legends and the holiday we now celebrate with 2 great Homeschool Holiday resources: St. Patrick, The Man Behind the Holiday as well as our St. Patrick’s Day Activity Pack.
St. Patrick, The Man Behind the Holiday guides learners through a slide presentation about St. Patrick’s life (some of the things presented here). and focuses more on his life. Learners complete companion note taking pages to outline what they learned and as a BONUS the St. Patrick Paper Plate Craft is included!
The St. Patrick’s Day Activity Pack guides learners through a fun presentation asking if statements regarding the holiday are Fact or Fiction. Learners indicate their choice on the companion worksheet and can then confirm the truth using the video, or the remaining slides in the presentation. The activity pack also has a leprechaun hat craft and entertaining printable worksheets for a fun filled afternoon or party!
Why we Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Celebrating the saints allows us to appreciate good people, regardless of your religious affiliation. Saints are people who listened to the invitation from God to follow him, and make him the center of their lives. Saints come from all walks of life. They have different professions, come from different countries, and are both men and women. By following God, Saints show us what is possible when we follow God; when we make good choices in life.
St. Patrick’s Day is a feast day in the Catholic Church. March 17th is used to celebrate his life because it is believed that Patrick died on March 17th in 461 AD. His feast day has evolved into quite a celebration of all things green, Leprechaun mischief and parades. In our homeschool, we celebrate to remember him and to honor his work. It is a perfect day to explore St. Patrick’s Day legends and fun facts.
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