Why three leaves instead of the “lucky” four leaf clover? Clovers can have three, four, or more leaves. “Shamrock” is used only to describe the three leaf clover (although people often don’t realize that).
I think that it is fun and exciting to celebrate holidays but, as a mother, I have been forced to consider how I feel about some holidays and traditions. I have read about the main holidays that we celebrate in the US. My husband and I have discussed them and compared traditions with our personal experiences and Christianity.
Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the holidays that has a Christian origin. I don’t claim to be all knowledgeable when it comes to history. But from what I have read; St. Patrick was actually from Britain. Before he was named “Patrick;” he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to work as a slave. He eventually escaped captivity and returned to Britain. Later he joined a church and studied to become a priest (and taking the name Patrick). Eventually, he returned to Ireland; feeling called by God to convert the Irish from paganism to Christianity. He was successful in his task. It is said that most of Ireland was converted before his death. There is a legend that Patrick used the shamrock in order to describe the Trinity to the people of Ireland. Below is a cute Veggie Tales version of the St. Patrick’s Day story:
Veggie Tales–St. Patrick’s Day
Although Saint Patrick’s Day has become secularized; I think that it is important to teach my children where it came from (for me this applies to all holidays and traditions). Now I do that in the form of Veggie Tales; later it may be another way. At the same time; I need to understand that it is okay to have and follow traditions but, it is not okay if those traditions become the focus of what is important. Jesus reminded the Pharisees that they follow traditions to the letter but that did not make their hearts clean and pure.
Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. Luke 11:39-41 [To read theses verses in context; click here]
So, remembering that, I go back to enjoying the holiday. Today my daughter will go to school with pigtails and big green and white bows 🙂
For more information about holidays and Christian traditions; I recommend:
Holidays & Holy Days by: Susan E. Richardson