Set Up The Leprechaun Trap! It's Almost St. Patrick's Day!

By on

CCSS Word Search
Image Credit: Pixabay CCO Creative Commons

Ireland is known for many things — its rich history, lush green landscapes, and of course, St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrated annually on March 17, the holiday gained prominence in the early-20th century as a religious feast day. However, it is now widely recognized as a celebration of Irish and Irish-American culture with fun traditions that include hunting for leprechauns, feasting on corned beef, and donning bright green clothing.

Meet St. Patrick

St. Patrick (Photo Credit:

While St. Patrick’s Day is one of Ireland’s most anticipated holidays, the clergyman, whose death anniversary it marks, was from the west coast of modern-day England. Born around 385 AD as Maewyn Succat, he was kidnapped by pirates at the age of sixteen and brought to work as a sheepherder in Ireland. Fortunately, the teenager managed to escape and return home six years later. After spending 15 years in a monastery, the now renamed Patricius ("Father of the Citizens") returned to Ireland to introduce Christianity to the country’s mostly pagan population. Though historians disagree if he died in 461 AD or 493 AD, there is little dispute that it was on March 17. Over the next few centuries, as tales of his achievements, including driving out all snakes from Ireland, spread, Patrick, once an unknown bishop, transformed into a legendary figure. By the seventh century, he had been elevated to the primary patron saint of Ireland, an honor he shares with just two other saints – Brigit of Kildare and Columba.

Why Turn Green?

Photo Credit : thepipe26 (Flickr: St. Patricks day 2013-2.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Though wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day is now the norm, it was not the initial color of choice. When the Order of St. Patrick was established in the 1780s, the followers wore blue. Green was only adopted once it became associated with Irish nationalism in the 1790s and deemed a good representation of the country’s green hills. Its popularity escalated in the 19th and 20th centuries.

While it’s unclear why we pinch those who haven’t worn the color, some believe the habit originated in the US to give people a green bruise. It could also stem from the Irish folklore that it makes people invisible to leprechauns, enabling them to capture the elusive creatures easily. Whatever the reason, a recent survey by Cox Media revealed that 83 percent of Americans celebrating the holiday this year intend to wear green.

Chasing Leprechauns and Pots of Gold

Photo Credit: Ann (CC by 2.0 via Flickr)

Leprechauns have become one of the holiday’s most beloved symbols. The shoemakers of the fairy world are believed to know the location of pots of gold hidden at the end of a rainbow. According to folklore, they will also have to grant three wishes to the person that manages to catch them. Unfortunately, the roguish fairies are extremely elusive and have yet to be captured, or even sighted.

Parades And Other Celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day parade 2016 (Photo Credit: Navy Band Northeast – CC by 2.0 via Flickr)

While most US cities hold a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, New York City, which began the tradition in 1762, hosts the biggest one. The five-hour-long, volunteer-organized, extravaganza along Fifth Avenue features over 150,000 marchers and attracts more than two million spectators. Though the Dublin, Ireland parade, which started in 1998, cannot match the impressive statistics, the city makes up for the deficiency with a week-long celebration which attracts over a million revelers.

For the ninth consecutive year, over 300 of the world’s iconic landmarks will celebrate the occasion by turning green on March 17. Among them will be the Great Wall of China, the London Eye, the mighty Niagara Falls, as well as Sydney’s Opera House. In Chicago, the local sanitation workers will continue the 50-year-tradition of temporarily transforming the Chicago River an emerald green with the help of 45 pounds of nontoxic vegetable dye.

Food! Food! Food!

Traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal (Photo Credit: sk CC by 2.0 via Flickr)

No celebration is complete without feasting on a customary dish or two. For St. Patrick’s Day, that means chowing down on corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. The tradition is believed to have originated from early Irish immigrants to the United States, who were only able to afford meat once a week. As beef was the cheapest option, it became the meat of choice. However, don’t expect to see the Irish in Ireland dining on the same fare! They typically indulge in bacon and lamb and would have most likely consumed pork and potatoes or soda bread and hot Irish stew back in the day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Generate citations in MLA, APA & Chicago formats for this article.

VocabularyPlay Game


Reading Comprehension (13 questions)

  1. What are some of the things Ireland is famous for?
  2. What are some of the fun traditions observed on St. Patrick’s Day?

Critical Thinking Challenge

What is your favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition? Why do you...


Vocabulary in Context

“While it’s unclear why we pinch those who haven’t worn the color, some believe the habit originated in the US to give people a green bruise.”

In the above sentence,...

Sign in to use your custom avatar.
  • RainbowSunday, October 14, 2018 at 2:41 pm
    Happy st. Patrick's Day!
    • kykyFriday, October 12, 2018 at 8:42 am
      Happy st.patrick's Day!
      • sailor_moon
        sailor_moonWednesday, September 12, 2018 at 9:03 am
        Wow this is cool and jgjdfd dont say that becuse there are little kids that read this stuff not me im a 5th grader
        • fgjdfdFriday, August 31, 2018 at 10:00 am
          leprechauns aren't real
          • mrmars06
            mrmars06Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 4:25 pm
            I caught the leprachaun once. XD
            • spykitten
              spykittenSaturday, August 4, 2018 at 1:52 pm
              St. Packtrick's Day is weird!
              • spykitten
                spykittenSaturday, August 4, 2018 at 1:51 pm
                • wolfdog
                  wolfdogTuesday, June 19, 2018 at 8:36 am
                  • mr irishWednesday, June 13, 2018 at 4:12 am
                    im more than half irish
                    • NoteMonday, June 4, 2018 at 8:19 am
                      lol 😂 st. Patrick’s day

                      Recent Comments

                      Unikitten wrote:

                      Stan Lee is like the P.T Barnum ...
                      Remembering Marvel Comics Legend...

                      Anthony omega wrote:

                      Watch the video
                      Golden Retriever Lives Up To Her...

                      SOMMES wrote:

                      holy smokes. thats crazy i could...
                      Video Of The Week — Chinese Stud...

                      Our Apps and Plugins