Monday, March 10, 2008

Going Green Take 3

While the Feast of St. Patrick (March 17) is suppressed this year because it falls during Holy Week (unless you live in a diocese where St. Patrick is the patron...then it's moved to March 14), I have grown up celebrating St. Patrick's Day and simply can't make it through the month of March without corned beef and lots of green.

Going to a Catholic grade school growing up, we were allowed the very rare opportunity to forgo our uniforms and wear green on St. Patrick's Day. There is nothing better than telling an 8 year old she can wear jeans and a green t-shirt to school instead of her uniform. Hence, St. Patrick has always held a special place in my heart!

Sometimes I get over eager to share about all the saints with my 2.5 year old. The truth is, he is not quite ready to learn about each and every saint in the Church calendar. So I have found it more satisfying to spend several weeks talking about a particular saint and spreading out activities that make virtues or history more concrete. So we have already had a week of stories and talking about St. Patrick and more is on the way. So far, Dash really loves that Patrick taught about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit using the shamrock leaves. We will bring in the image of the rainbow this week.

We have several books on St. Patrick. Pingry's book prompted us to look up some Irish jig music and have a rousing Irish dance. We made salt dough shamrocks and painted them green. As always, has great historical and activity info. We tried to bake shamrock cupcakes but they didn't really come out since we made a rich, homemade cake. I think you needed the spongy consistency of boxed cake mix for the shapes to work. The 4 Real Learning forum has lots of ideas if you search under St. Patrick.

I'd love to hear if you all have any ideas or traditions for celebrating and teaching about St. Patrick!


Bethany said...

My sister used to be a competitive Irish Step Dancer. She now dances for fun with a folk dance troupe. She was always busy around St. Patrick's Day. I always enjoyed watching her dance. To see authentic Irish step dancing, is a unique way to connect to old world Ireland. Many of the formation group dances have stories behind telling about Irish legends, folklore and Catholic history.

AWOL Mommy said...

Ok, so Texas Mommy, I know you have some sort of natural alternative that will turn foods green if I do want to attempt those cupcakes. Or do you just allow a little artificial green into everyones' bodies in the name of Saint Patrick?

Right Said Red said...

My family is very Irish. We always did a scavenger hunt on St. Patrick's day morning. We then received a family gift at the end of the hunt. It was a great family tradition. We also, of course, ate corned beef and cabbage, with carrots and potatoes. Soda bread was served, although not always eaten, and Beer.

Mary Alice said...

In this Irish/Italian household, we are glad that St. Patrick and St. Joseph have feasts in the same week. That said, we will not celebrate either in a significant way this year. Both of these feasts fall during Holy Week, a by-product of a very early Lent and Easter. With a new baby in the mix, we did not have enough "ordinary time" in between Christmas (which we keep until Epiphany) and Lent.

As I was starting to get out some craft projects for St. Pats and thinking about making soda bread I just felt totally overwhelmed! In a rare moment of clarity, I am dealing with this by just saying no. We will probably read a book about St. Pat, and decorate shamrocks, we will have a nice breakfast with our Italian-American Dad and ask St. Joseph to pray for him, but there will be no big to-do, no parade, no step dancing, no food dyed green, this year.

At first, I was sad, when I decided to give this up, I knew it was the right thing to do right now, but I was disappointed about the fun we would all miss. But, I can't do all that and still have the energy to celebrate the Resurrection, and as Kat would say, first things first.

By the way, I am not saying that others should not celebrate these feasts during Holy Week, just that we aren't.

As far as living the liturgical year, I am hoping to do many crafts and activities for Our Lady in May, but for now we are really just lying low.

Perhaps this is one of the insights that I needed to learn from Lent this year -- sometimes we need to pass on the special occasions so that we can just get the everyday under control.

I am thinking vaguely of some parenting advice about moving from one celebration to the next, is this picnic parents, or something, is this Dobson, Stenson? Someone with a brain come and help me out here, Daylight savings time has rendered me exhausted. I was too sleep deprived all ready, and that one hour lost may have been the last straw against coherency.

texas mommy said...

For the sake of St. Patrick I used green food coloring. Though I DID momentarily consider using some steamed spinach water to color icing. Yuck. There are places to buy natural food dye online, but I haven't thus far.

I love Mary Alice's comment. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the clever and creative ideas out there for celebrating each and every feast. That is why we are using several weeks of March to talk about St. Patrick (and Lent)!

Juris Mater said...

MaryAlice, "picnic parents" is Stenson... but my answering your question here is not meant to suggest that I actually have a brain. My last 3 years have been a blur of post-partum/prepartum something or other.

We are dealing with the tendency to get liturgically overwhelmed as follows: throw a huge St. Patrick's Day party on Palm Sunday with lots of Irish beer and traditional Irish food and store-bought St. Patrick's Day decorations. Canonically inappropriate? Possibly. But St. Patrick is one of just a couple major patron saints of our family. In seriousness, we are discussing St. Patrick this week, and I find that a hearty, human celebration helps my kids (especially my 3 year old party girl) maintain an interest in saints and liturgical things even after the feast day has passed. I guess that requires us to pick and choose which to emphasize sometimes. We'll shift gears to the Passion and Resurrection on Monday. Maybe we'll learn our lesson and do it differently in the future : )

AWOL Mommy said...

tm, for you and other hardcore hippie types, as Easter Egg dying approaches: