The school windows would be decorated with shamrocks and leprechauns. McDonald’s would come out with their minty shamrock shake and have commercials and signs for it like it was some big surprise. I loved those shakes and I’d beg and plead and I was very lucky to get one each year.
That was all I knew. I thought it had something to do with leprechauns and luck and green and mint shakes. Hey, what do I know? I’m not Irish so my family didn’t celebrate the holiday.
In my early 20s St. Patrick’s Day also meant Irish pubs and green beer so clearly I had broadened my definition quite a bit.
Course now I have kids. Kids who ask questions.
Unfortunately, my understanding hasn’t evolved much since I was a little girl.
One quick trip to Wikipedia and we learned all about the actual dude named Patrick, that the original color associated with him was blue and that he supposedly used shamrocks to explain the holy trinity because of the three leaves. Leprechauns and milkshakes weren’t even involved, which makes the whole story rather disappointing and not as tasty.
We then read all about leprechauns and other Irish and Celtic mythology (the irony of which is not lost on me) and I wound up reserving several Irish history, culture and story books from the library for the kids.
So while we still don’t celebrate, I’m incredibly thankful that it spawned an interest in some new things for us to discover. And I think my kids have a better grasp on the origins of the holiday than I ever did.
And I’m pretty sure those library books will be even better with a homemade mint milkshake to go along with them. Some traditions (no matter how meaningless) are just plain fun.
About the author:
Amber Dusick is one of our SheKnows Experts Among Us. She is the author of the bestselling humor book Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. She writes and illustrates the blog Crappy Pictures where she captures the hilarious and frustrating things that happen in marriage and parenting. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.
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