While city dwellers around the world have huge parades and festivals to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, what can those in rural areas with no organized events do? Make our own of course! When it comes to the culture of the Irish gifts such as hospitality, improvisation and a love of the craic (fun) mean that we are well able to put together events in our homes to introduce and celebrate our heritage. Here’s a few tips of organizing an authentic celebration of Irish culture at home for your friends of all ages.
This is the perfect opportunity to dust off those Irish blessing plates on the wall, get out the Guinness glasses and fill those crystal vases and candy dishes… as well as an ideal excuse to invest in some more. You can create a theme based on what you have – cozy Irish pub, charming cottage tea time, celebrating our independence on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, whatever aspect of Irish cultures speaks to you. Some green balloons and shamrock decorations won’t go astray either. Don’t overlook details such as bar towels and coasters. You can find personalized coasters, and these make great Irish gifts as well.
Musical talent is one of those Irish gifts that some of us have in spades… and some of us don’t! If you have a group of musical friends, you can have your own trad session going with all of your favorite ballads and reels. If not, you can find Irish music for every mood from the enduring traditional tunes to the latest rock and pop. Sinead O’Connor, U2, The Cranberries and others are not exactly hard to find. A video showing the fancy footwork of Irish dance will dazzle those who haven’t seen it before, or what about trying to teach yourselves some ceili moves? That is great fun that won’t soon be forgotten.
The drink options are obvious, but what about food? You don’t actually see much corned beef in Ireland, but an Irish cocktail party will often include brown soda bread and smoked salmon. More casual nights out in Ireland tend to end with a stop at the chipper for fish and chips with plenty of vinegar. On the sweet side, it is still customary to bring a loaf cake when visiting friends, usually a light fruit one, and this is a nation of chocolate lovers.
For a child-friendly event, you can hide some inexpensive toy rubber snakes and have the children find them and chase them away. Shamrocks are an easy face painting design – just make three green heart shapes with the points together, fill them in and a stem. The little ones can also make their own snakes by painting or coloring a paper plate and then cutting it into a spiral shape.
The huge parades and the music festivals are great fun, but they are not held everywhere and they are not everyone’s cup of tea. The Irish have a long history of making our own fun, and it can be a memorable way to celebrate our patron saint. You never know, it could be the start of a family tradition.