10 Green Tips for this St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patty’s Day is the perfect time for everyone to drag out their most vibrant green togs and joyfully pinch and kiss their way through the day.  And on this day, which honors the death of Ireland’s patron saint, Patricius Daorbae, who was reputed to have driven the snakes from Ireland, abstinence from Irish alcoholic beverage is almost considered sacrilege amongst the holiday’s most devoted keepers.  Truth told, since the Irish celebrate the event for a full five days, one day of imbibing is tame by comparison.

As is the way of modern times, the celebration that began as a religious observance of the death of one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saints has become commercialized beyond recognition.  Today we honor the venerated saint by marching gigantic helium filled leprechauns down the street, lighting up electrified shamrocks and pouring gallons of green die on anything that doesn’t move.  Irish bloggers, musicians, public servants and business persons proudly command center stage in some of the most raucous parade demonstrations seen.

We’d like to suggest a few activities that green revelers might like to incorporate into their celebrations.  A few simple alterations to the modern tradition and one can trade in their hard-soled clogs for much gentler Ghillies and diminish their carbon footprint.

Main dishes:  Corned beef and cabbage paired with carrots, potatoes and onions is considered by many to be a must-have for every St. Paddy’s day table, but it is more correctly an adulteration of the more traditional Irish boiled dinner.  Instead, try a true Irish tradition:  Irish stew, Coddle, or for the vegetarians out there, Colcannon. Tuck in to a hearty portion of Bangers and boxty for lunch.

Breakfast and dessert:  You needn’t limit your celebration to the main meal of the day.  Instead, observe every meal as an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Irish culture.  Break your fast with warm Irish soda bread or, better yet, buttermilk scones.  And don’t forget the biscuits (cookies) to cleanse the palate after those hearty meals!

Clothes:  Rather than contribute to conspicuous consumption, consider dying one of your less favorite (natural fabric) items from your closet an appropriate hue of green for the day.  Green vegetable dyes can be extracted by boiling, pulverizing then straining dark, leafy greens (such as kale orchard).  You’ll need a pretty intense pigment, so start with a couple of bunches of greens.  Put your togs into the hot liquid and let soak (at least a few hours and preferably overnight).  Air-dry and enjoy!

Alcohol free drinks:  One needn’t partake of alcohol to enjoy St. Paddy’s day.  Ireland offers a wide range of alcohol-free beverages that pair well with the traditional foods of the day.  First of all there’s tea.  Fine Irish tea is a fitting match for your breakfast meal or after your lunch or dinner.  If anyone is put off by a well-steeped pot of tea, offer a bit of cream and sugar to soften its tannic bite.  Ice-cold apple cider echoes traditional Irish cider, which is fermented and offers one heck of a morning-after kick!  Tea flavored with honey, lemon and cinnamon mimics the popular “hot toddy” and can help slow the house down at the end of a long day.  And there’s always soda (sparkling water), tonic (bitter sparkling water) and still water.

Alcoholic beverages:  Ireland offers a host of traditional beer and whiskey to tempt the most discerning palate.  Try your Guinness Stout the traditional way – at room temperature.  Or enjoy a tempting Irish Coffee with a cube of sugar, a jigger of fine peat whiskey, an ounce of heavy cream and six ounces of strong black coffee.  Stir gently while enjoying the company of friends and sip in front of a roaring fire.

Cooking:  If kids, family, friends or significant others want to try their hand at something new in the kitchen, invite them to help prepare your traditional Irish fare.  The recipes are not exacting, and with “Riverdance” playing in the background, things will be done in no time.

Baking: Shamrock-shaped cookies and Irish soda bread are a great way to get the kids involved in your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Environmental:  Bring a little beauty and luck to the world by spreading some clover seed or planting sorrel, which has the distinct look of the leprechaun’s lucky 4-leaf clover.

Music:  Pick up or download a selection of Irish reels and ballads to entertain your guests at your feast.  Inexpensive CDs are available at discount stores and online from resellers.  And don’t miss out on the rich selection of music available on the internet.  Or, reduce waste by visiting a local used music store and keep those old tapes and CDs from making their way to the landfill.

Dance:  Once the reels get underway it’s almost impossible not to want to get up and move, and kids are great at going with the flow.  Don’t worry about whether you know the steps … on this day you’re Irish.  The steps will find their way to your feet unbidden.  This is the day to toss your reservations into the fire and flow with the pulse of the people, so grab your kids, form a circle and dance!

Photo by: Zooropa –

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  1. Aww these are great tips. My kids love St Patricks day and I have a hard time some years on making it fun for them. Thanks again!

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