Do you think you have the luck o’ the Irish?
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in the United States as a fun cultural holiday to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Taking place on March 17th every year, celebrators wear green, attend parades, eat Irish food and beer, and dance to Irish music. Don’t be surprised if, in jest, someone pinches you for not wearing green–legend has it that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns!
St. Patrick’s Day originated as a holiday to honor St. Patrick, a missionary who was kidnapped by Irish raiders in his youth and proceeded to evangelize the Irish to Christianity. Later, Irish immigrants who came to America popularized the holiday into the secular, largely cultural holiday of merrymaking that it is known as today. Wear green and embrace your inner Leprechaun!
Here are 8 fun St. Patrick’s Day activities we recommend for seniors:
1. Attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade.
If you attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade, be prepared for gigantic green-colored floats filled with dancing leprechauns, color guards tossing Irish flags in the air, men playing bagpipes in unison, and revelers all dressed in green marching down the pavement. It’s an arresting, surreal experience, and you won’t want to be a bystander not wearing green! Be amazed by all the sights and performances, and meet fellow St. Patrick’s Day celebrators. To find a parade near you, go to this St. Patrick’s Day parade finder which lists all of the St. Patrick’s Day parades in cities near you.
2. Learn to dance an Irish jig.
If you love Riverdance, try Irish step dancing! If the state of your knees permits (consult your doctor before undergoing any rigorous exercise), take an Irish step-dancing or Irish jig class. You can learn a few steps on Youtube using this Irish Dance Class for Beginners Video or this 5-minute Irish jig step-by-step video. Have fun practicing at home, and then show off your newfound dance skills to your children or grandchildren on their next visit. Try learning the dance steps with your loved ones as another way to bond. If dancing is not your forte, just play some Celtic music and tap your feet to the fast Irish drum beats.
3. Listen to Celtic music.
Celtic music can be entrancing and transport you to fairy-lands inhabited by wandering woodland nymphs, brave soldiers riding horses, or sailors gallivanting on the high seas. We recommend listening to Celtic Woman, a musical group of Irish female singers with angelic voices. Irish folk ballads can be achingly beautiful as well with their laments of lost love. Famous ballads include “Danny Boy” and “The Fields of Athenry.” Whatever your taste is, you are sure to find an Irish song that will move you.
4. Create your own tavern-experience.
You don’t have to go to an Irish pub to have the full St. Patrick’s Day experience (especially if you want to avoid bawdy masqueraders). Try creating your own tavern-like experience by bringing out Irish pub food such as shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, and bacon and cabbage. Invite neighbors to play some Irish card games, such as “Twenty-Five” which is Ireland’s national card game. Watch a football game together or simply tell stories, hear jokes, and have a good time! Creating your own Irish-pub experience can be a wonderful way to immerse yourself in Irish food, culture, and music.
5. Host a Leprechaun costume contest.
Dress up as a Leprechaun and get as creative as you want. Prizes can be a ‘pot of gold’ (gold chocolate coins in a pot) or a gift basket of all things green. You can find costume ideas on Pinterest and make accessories by finding anything green in your house and finding a creative way to transform it. You can try making these DIY St. Patrick’s Day hats, 5-minute DIY shamrock pins, or DIY headband top hat. Gather your band of leprechaun friends together, and then go out together for a fun night on the town. You’ll be sure to get admiring looks of amazement and maybe even find a four-leaf clover–a Celtic charm and symbol of luck–for your creative efforts.
6. Read the tantalizing story of St. Patrick.
The story of St. Patrick is fascinating. Born in Britain to wealthy parents, St. Patrick was kidnapped to Ireland at the tender age of 16 to be a slave. Discovering how this young man persevered through trial and transformed the faith of millions will be an entertaining time for you and loved ones. Read a book like this book, St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography, detailing St. Patrick’s famous miracle of banishing all snakes from Ireland or his miracle of raising long-dead people from the grave. Although St. Patrick’s feats are exaggerated and have become mythologized, his contribution and transformation of Ireland cannot be minimized. From being kidnapped to later converting the same people who abducted him, St. Patrick is a hero whose story you will love.
7. Play St. Patrick’s Day games.
Seniors can customize games to be St. Patrick’s Day-themed. Play St. Patrick’s Day pictionary by drawing or acting out clues such as “pot of gold,” “thank your lucky stars,” and “my wild Irish rose.” You can also play St. Patrick’s Day bingo with these free St. Patrick’s Day bingo printables. Feel free to use gold chocolate coins to cover up the spaces on your bingo cards. St. Patrick’s Day fans may love learning esoteric knowledge about St. Patrick’s Day or all things Irish–why not play a game of St. Patrick’s Day trivia? Trivia is sure to be a crowd-pleaser as you learn who really is “green” at heart. Maybe they just have the “luck of the Irish” on their side? Enjoy bonding with loved ones through games.
8. Create St. Patrick’s Day crafts.
There are St. Patrick’s Day crafts galore on the internet–you’ll find the number stretching all the way till the end of the rainbow! We recommend having fun creating a hanging pot of gold, a green clay clover pin, painted shamrocks on “gold,” pot of gold Mason jar, or these lucky shamrock coin bags. Surprise your loved ones with a gift of St. Patrick’s Day food crafts as well! You can make shamrock velvet cake, green hot chocolate, shamrock cookies, or even this “beary” cute St. Paddy bear pop! St. Patrick’s Day is a day of celebrating the Irish spirit of adventure, joy, and free-flowing fun. Even mischievous leprechauns will want to join in on your fun craft-making adventures!
At Oakmont Senior Living, we love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with loved ones and neighbors. You’ll find us having an Irish feast at one of our St. Patrick’s Day parties, dressed all in green, singing karaoke of Irish ballads, painting shamrocks, playing games, and so much more! We would love to have you join us in our festivities. To find out more about what it’s like living in our joyful senior living community, please contact us today.