Saturday, March 14, 2009

St. Patrick’s Day - Not just for the Irish

My great-great-great grandmother came over from Ireland and I think she packed her superstitions in her suitcase. She handed those superstitions down through the generations. My grandmother, whom we called Nunny, who at the age of 92 passed away this January, took them way TOO seriously.

Nunny used to tell me to do things that no sensible person would ever do! For example, while I was driving across railroad tracks she’d say, “Pick up your feet!”

Okay, Nunny, and while my feet are in mid-air, who’s gonna work the pedals? The Leprechaun in your purse?

Or when a funeral procession was passing us on the road. She’d tell me, “Find a button and hold it.”
Again, do you have a Leprechaun in your purse that’s going to work the steering wheel while I FIND a button then HOLD it?

Oh, Nunny was a hoot--bless her soul. On the night of the full moon, she would go outside and hold open a purse. When I asked her why she did this, she would tell me it would bring her riches. For the record, Nunny didn’t have money problems. However, it got to be a bit much. From it’s bad luck if you open an umbrella indoors, breaking a mirror or walking under a ladder, to hanging a wreath on your front door. Her superstitions were endless. There were also good luck ones like throwing salt over your shoulder, repeating phrases, knocking on wood to placing quarters on window ledgers on New Year’s Eve, and she had more windows that I cared to count! And If we had a visitor for as many knives, forks and spoons that fell on the floor, we would’ve been entertaining every night of the week!

Needless to say all those superstitions turned me off. I’m not the least bit superstitious. I actually look at Friday the 13th as a lucky day. And I don’t worry about black cats running in front of me. If I break a mirror I worry more about getting cut than having bad luck for 7 years. So, my Irish heritage isn’t as ingrained in me as it was her.

I decided when I had my children I wouldn’t scare the beegeebers out of them with superstitions. But I did want to celebrate their Irish heritage and make St. Patrick’s Day a fun day for them. And it can be fun for everyone, not just the Irish.

When my kids were little I used to take out their cereal bowls the night before and pour a little bit of green food coloring in to the bottom. In the morning when I poured the milk in the bowl it would turn green right before their eyes. I would tell my boys that the Leprechaun had been here! They thought it was MAGIC! I told them if they found the Leprechaun, then he would have to take them to his pot of gold. My sons would run around the house looking for the Leprechaun.

I used green markers to make little green Leprechaun foot prints on the bathroom sink and sprinkle it with green glitter (It washes right off) so it looked like the Leprechaun was in the bathroom. I even painted little green “lips” on my kid’s cheeks with an erasable marker to imitate Leprechaun kisses. My boys would search the house until they got to their bedroom. Underneath their pillow was a little sack and in that sack were 5 one dollar gold coins. My boys would get so excited that the Leprechaun left them gold coins!

To this day, and my boys are 11 and 16, they look under their pillows for their sack of gold coins! It’s a tradition now, because they don’t believe in the Leprechauns anymore. But it sure was fun when they did.

You may not find a pot of gold, but you can have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and a little bit of Irish fun!


  1. I LOVE this. First off, Nunny was a hoot. I love her silly ways...I am not superstitious either, but I love hearing about those that are.
    I love your way of celebrating St. Paddy's with your boys. SO cute.
    I wish I had thought of the food coloring before. I suppose it is too late now...but maybe for my grandkids. (in about 15 years)
    Thanks for sharing.
    Oh, and my Grandpa was a Sullivan. I know about some crazy irish folks too....:)

  2. THAT is a GREAT family tradition pammy! now did they save their pots of gold, or spend it like a wild irishman.... he he!!

  3. happy easter to you and your family pammy!

  4. you need to get a new post up here pammy!!... he he...


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