While Girl Scouts associate March with Girl Scout Cookie Season there is another holiday to consider: Saint Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on March 17th annually! As we approach this special holiday it has us wondering, what is the best way to celebrate? Outside of wearing green, searching for leprechauns and chasing rainbows to find a pot of gold, there is so much more to this famous Irish holiday. We want to take this opportunity to dive into Saint Patrick’s Day and share all the amazing things to come from Irish Culture today!
Ireland is a small island located just west of the United Kingdom with a very rich heritage. Many of our traditions and celebrations have come from Ireland, including Saint Patrick’s Day. Traditionally Ireland celebrates this national Irish holiday with parades, festivals and much more! So, who was Saint Patrick exactly? Saint Patrick was actually born in England, but arrived in Ireland around 430 A.D. and quickly made his way across the country. Saint Patrick explained Catholic religious beliefs using the three-leaf clover, making many of these teachings much more accessible to the public. He is also credited with banishing snakes from Ireland before his death on March 17th.
While Ireland wholeheartedly celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day there is much more to Irish Culture than this famous holiday. Today, Ireland is a bustling country filled with kindhearted people, delicious food and traditional folklore tales.
Believe it or not, the culture of Ireland has had a large impact on the world today and our traditions. Did you know that Halloween actually started in Ireland? Halloween was first celebrated over 2,000 years ago in Ireland to honor and celebrate the souls lost throughout the year. The day was celebrated with bonfires, carving pumpkins and even trick-or-treating!
Ireland has also had a huge impact on our sense of humor throughout the years! As you may be able to guess Ireland was the birthplace of having a good time and showing your love by teasing your friends and family! If you ever visit Ireland don’t be surprised if they welcome you by teasing you. Additionally, when in Ireland they use the term “craic” (pronounced crack) constantly. Craic simply means to have fun!
Irish Culture is heavily rooted in having fun, but the food is just as important to the people! So many Irish dishes are rooted in tradition and simplicity. I think two of the most common (and delicious) dishes would be Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread. However, they have many more delicious dishes to try including; Corned Beef & Cabbage, Fish Pie and Irish Apple Cake. And we definitely recommend you try out some of the recipes found here (https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/classic-irish-recipes/)
Now last, but certainly not least we have Irish Folklore. Ireland has celebrated the tradition of folklore and storytelling for over 2,000 years. Long before history and events were recorded in writing they were passed down through story telling. While Ireland has its very own set of folklore tales, believe it or not, many of our fairy tales today have been heavily influenced by these Irish traditional tales!
An example is actually fairies! While stories of fairies can be found across the globe the fairies we know today and the term “fairy tale” originated in Ireland! Irish Folklore states that the first fairies were believed to be a part of the “Tuatha de Danann” one of the first tribes in Ireland. The story goes that they were magic people that loved Ireland so much they decided to shrink themselves and move underground. Yes, the stories have evolved over the years, but many Irish people, especially those living in the countryside believe in fairies. The fairies are considered Ireland’s tiny protectors, so the Irish people still honor fairy trees, fairy rings and much more – “just in case”.
Speaking of fairies, there are more than just folklore fairies in Ireland. A “fairy” is actually a common nickname for Irish Girl Guides at the Brownie level. As you may know, Girl Scouts are part of the W.A.G.G.G.S organization which stands for the “World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.” Well Ireland is also a part of this organization, but they are called Girl Guides instead of Girl Scouts!
Girl Guides across Ireland celebrate their very own ceremonies and traditions, including having their very own promise and law. And did you know that Irish Girl Guides even sell their own cookies? Yes, but they only sell one flavor for a short time every year: a chocolate cookie with milk chocolate chunks inside. You can learn more about Irish Girl Guides by visiting their website here (https://www.irishgirlguides.ie/)
We hope you learned something new, just in time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! And don’t forget to share your Irish knowledge, traditions and celebrations in the comments below!