I was recently on the phone to a colleague arranging a work appointment. We talked about meeting on 17 March, but then my colleague said, "Of course, you won't want to do anything then will you?"
Because, you see, I have an Irish accent, and the seventeenth is St Patrick's Day, when we traditionally celebrate all things Irish. For some reason people associate this festival with large consumption of alcohol, so I had to reassure my colleague that I would still be fairly sober for our meeting at 10am.
People outside Ireland seem to embrace St Patrick's Day with much more enthusiasm than those on the homeland do. There are worldwide celebrations, which people cheerfully embrace, whether they have a genuine Irish connection or not.
There's due to be a big St Patrick's Day parade in London on Sunday 14th – this is also Mother's Day, so if you're an Irish mother you really need to be there.
So how can families celebrate St Patrick's Day? At least some of your family are probably too young to imbibe Guinness or green beer, but don't let that put you off celebrating your Irish heritage. It's important for children to realise that they have a rich cultural background, and are part of a bigger picture.
So perhaps you might cook a traditional Irish dish for tea, like stew or champ, soda bread or boxty. As long as potatoes figure prominently, you'll be on the right track. Print out a few colouring sheets like this and get your children to create their own lucky leprechaun.
Wear green, gather shamrocks and bore your children with tales of the auld country – that's what I intend to do.
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