When did this become another major consumerist holiday, complete with imaginary nighttime visitor/bearer of treats? When I was a kid, we would try to slip some green into our school uniforms of blue, white and grey (usually a green pin or ribbon at the collar), and pinch anyone who forgot. Maybe watch Darby O’Gill and the Little People or The Bells of St. Mary’s on TV. Nowadays kids build traps in hopes of capturing a Leprechaun, who will grant them three wishes. E and Z have been talking about this event for weeks, and what they’ll wish for (gum, candy and lollipops), in addition to coloring multitudes of Leprechauns and shamrocks. Last week the daycare director pulled me aside to tell me not to worry about green bowel movements, because they will be eating green grapes, green beans and green milk today for lunch.
I would be totally fine with using it as an opportunity to learn about Irish culture and celebrate the coming spring (I assume that’s what it’s about originally; co-opted to celebrate the saint who drove all the “snakes”—i.e. Druids—out of Ireland), but when it turns into another opportunity to get stuff, I get irritated.
But even I got sucked into it last year, when M built a Leprechaun trap in school, and was so wound up about whether the Leprechaun would come to our house, and how would he know if it did, that I made a little green Leprechaun shoe using this pattern (I was going to make two, but ran out of time) and casually placed it on the bottom step. He was soooo thrilled when he found it, but then he spent the next several months obsessing about whether it was from a real Leprechaun or whether I made it. I had intended to make the other shoe this year (so at least it would be a pair) and hide it, but M hasn’t seem too interested in the idea (and E and Z are more interested in actually catching the Leprechaun…and cutting off its head), so I let it drop.
This year we kept it simple—M read to us from a book of Celtic Fairy Tales over the weekend, we watched The Secret of Roan Inish Saturday night, we’ve been listening to our Celtic Tides CD, and I made Irish-American soda bread for dinner last night (along with kale-potato gratin, which, while not Irish, is green) for dinner. I left early this a.m. to go swim, so wasn’t around to dress the boys in green (unlikely that C would think of such a detail) and even forgot to bring green clothes for myself (instead choosing a blue sweater that had a big smear of something slimy on the sleeve, that I noticed in the middle of a meeting, and which totally threw me off whatever I was trying to say). It remains to be seen when I get home tonight whether they will have noticed that they didn’t “get” anything—felt shoes or gold coins—this St. Paddy’s Day.