Can you think of a holiday in this month? How about a day to wear green (or orange)?
That’s right. St. Patrick’s Day is in March. So what is St. Patrick’s Day? I can remember asking my mom the same question when I was younger. 🙂
Let’s explore a little of the history surrounding the holiday and the Emerald Isle (that’s a fancy name for Ireland) and then we’ll do a craft.
Who was this guy called St. Patrick? Is he the funny looking little man with red hair and a green costume? No, that’s a leprechaun, a mischievous and legendary little character. St. Patrick was a missionary to Ireland. He lived during the 5th Century A.D. (That’s about 1600 years ago, and so long ago that historians are still debated when he was actually born!) Patrick originally lived in England, but he got captured and taken to Ireland when he was young man; he eventually escaped and returned to his family. But Patrick was concerned about the people of Ireland. He wanted to tell them about the Christian faith, so when he was older he returned to Ireland. He is often called the patron saint of Ireland and some churches have a specially celebration for him on March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day).
There are many legends about St. Patrick. One claims that he drove all the snakes off the island and into the sea where they were drowned! Another says he used the Irish shamrock plant to explain the Christian belief of the Trinity to his converts.
Maybe you don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in your church? (I don’t…) So why’s the day important? Well, a lot people do crazy things on the holiday, but I think it’s a nice time to remember the country of Ireland, it’s fascinating history, and the Irish people who came to America.
For example, did you know that potatoes were a main food source for the Irish people? Sadly, in the 1840’s (about 170 years ago) a bad plant disease ruined the potato crops for many years. The Irish people were hungry. Some of them came to America to escape the famine and they became an important part of American society. Did you know that some Irishmen helped lay the railroad tracks for the first trans-continental railroad in America?
You can find for fun-facts and information on Gazette665 Facebook page between March 15th and 21st. (Parental supervision recommend.) I will also share a short list of some of my favorite books about Ireland on Tuesday, March 10 – you’ll be able to find it on the Holiday History and Craft Page.
To remember the Irish and St. Patrick, let’s make a celebration sign. You’ll use potatoes to make stamps – remember that the potato famine brought many Irish to America, looking for work and food.
*Warning: Knives are sharp – please be careful – adult supervision/help is STRONGLY recommended*
What You’ll Need:
A large piece of white paper (I used an oversize sheet of construction paper)
Some sort of table protector (I found a good use for the sports section of the newspaper)
Orange, Green, and Yellow Paint – the washable type is my favorite 🙂
A paper plate
Sharp Knife (and an adult’s help!)
Markers or colored pencils (optional)
Lay out your table cover and let’s begin. Start by writing out HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY on your paper. Write in pencil. Then either use the orange paint and paint on the lines or use the markers or colored pencils.
Now, make the potato stamps. *Remember, knives are sharp – be careful* Cut the potato in half, NOT length wise!
You’ll make the diamond stamp first. Take your pencil and draw a square (which will be a diamond when turned) in the white part of the potato.
Use the knife to cut away the extra potato on the sides, leaving the square standing up about a half-inch from the rest of the potato. (See the photograph).
Next, if you’re brave, prepare the cut the shamrock stamp. Start by lightly pressing the measuring spoon into the potato, move it and press two more times, making the interlocking circles and the outer lines should start to look like a shamrock. (See photograph.) Leave enough room to make a straight stem.
Now, trace with a pencil to finalize your impressions; remember to only trace the outer part. Use the knife to carefully cut away the outer part of the shamrock, leaving the design standing up about a half-inch from the rest of the potato. I found that cutting small pieces helped to preserve the design better.
Dry the diamond and shamrock stamps lightly with a paper towel.
Put some paint on the paper plate. Use a paint brush to apply a generous coating of paint to the raised surface of the stamps. Test on scrap paper if you like. Press the stamp firmly against the page; don’t allow it to slip or slide around. Pick it straight up off the page. Use the paint brush to fix any open spaces in the design – Do Not try to “reprint” a stamp, it doesn’t work well. (Trust me.)
Stamp green shamrocks and gold diamonds around your orange text. Have Fun! Do you remember why we used potatoes? Tell your dad, mom, grandma, or friend about what you learned!