Saint Patrick's Day is a holiday rich with tradition and festivities. While many American's think first of greenery and beer, the holiday is traditionally a religious holiday meant to honor Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick was born in Britain, was enslaved as a boy but later brought Christianity to Ireland. March 17 is the anniversary of Saint Patrick's death, and the day we use to celebrate Irish culture. Traditionally, the day started with a church service, followed with boisterous celebrations in the afternoon. Ironically, the first Saint Patrick's Day parade ever was held in New York City by Irish soldiers serving in the British army. So many early Americans were Irish too, though, so the Irish tradition quickly spread and has become ingrained in American culture.
Many Americans still celebrate the holiday, as do other countries all over the world, each with their own unique flare. The origins lie in Ireland, and Pittsburgh has adapted its own Irish traditions.
The city of Pittsburgh will hold a St. Patrick's Day Parade at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 17, 2018. This parade has been a Pittsburgh tradition since 1869. You can expect several marching bands, floats, and plenty of white, orange, and green decor and attire. Don't forget to wear your own greenery, too!
There are a lot of other ways to celebrate in Pittsburgh, too. Take part in the 5K and Family Fun Walk, a casual 5K where costumes are encouraged and the whole family is invited. Consider attending the Semper Gratus Saint Patrick's Day dance fundraiser. Don't forget to grab some traditional Irish food at one of Pittsburgh's many Irish pubs.
If you aren't up for going out, there are plenty of ways to celebrate at home, too. Try your hand at making some traditional Irish recipes. Lamb stew, Irish soda bread, and boiled bacon with cabbage and carrots are all good dishes, and they're not as complicated as you may think. Your local grocery store probably carries everything you need for any of those Irish recipes. Read some traditional Irish fairy tales and search YouTube for some Irish folk music. Watch Irish river dancers while you're at it! Look up some Irish blessings and take joy in their uplifting spirit. Print some of those Irish blessing and make cards for friends and neighbors.
While your Irish meal is cooking, get out your craft supplies and make some festive decorations for your home. A Saint Patrick's Day wreath is an easy DIY craft. Wrap a wreath in green ribbon and glue on some little rocks painted in rainbow colors.
Play a joke on your children by pouring some green food coloring into your toilet and telling them that a leprechaun has visited. Chase the leprechaun around your house (you'll need to post leprechaun clues around - think of orange yarn for beard hair, tiny green footprints, etc.). At the end of the chase, have your children stumble upon a pot of gold coins (chocolate coins work well!) with a note from the leprechaun saying that he's sorry you couldn't catch him but to enjoy the golden gift.
Tell your children about the folklore of leprechauns, and make leprechaun costumes (this one may be simpler for you - just dress in green and make the hat and beard out of construction paper). Consider allowing your children to go to a friend's house to deliver gold coins. If you are driving, you can decorate your vehicle with paper rainbow chains and make a sign that says "leprechaun on board," to spread some Irish joy to everyone you pass.
Whatever your plans for Saint Patrick's Day, we hope that you enjoy it with those you love most.
And always, "May love and laughter light your days and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam. May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures. May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours." -Irish Blessing