On a day when all the world is Irish but much of the world is locked behind closed doors during the Covid-19 pandemic, coming up with ideas on how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day can be a wee bit difficult. You probably shouldn’t be whooping it up at your favorite Irish pub, but there are a few things you can still do to make the day fun for you and your family. All it takes is the luck of the Irish (and in some cases, some green food coloring).
Like a four-leaf clover itself, here are four ideas for embracing St. Paddy’s Day when you’re social distancing.
Conduct a shamrock hunt
Babs Coler of Moorhead is a huge St. Patrick’s Day fan despite being of German/Norwegian heritage. “Oh, I love all the holidays other people don’t care about,” she says. Coler says she and some friends even celebrate Flag Day together for years. This year, she has a great idea for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day — a shamrock hunt. She learned about the idea from a website promoting her hometown of Fridley, Minn., “Friendly Fridley.” Here’s how it works: Unlike an Easter egg hunt where children are all together looking for hidden eggs, a shamrock hunt is an individual affair. Have your child draw a shamrock. (We’ll print one at the bottom of this story.)
After it’s colored, tape it up in your window. Then take your child for a walk outdoors in the fresh air and try to spot the homes with shamrocks. Perhaps you can come up with ideas for prizes depending upon how many you find. Coler, whose children are grown, says it's something her grandchildren might enjoy. “We’re all stuck at home now,” she says. “It’s something to keep the kids busy and get outdoors for some exercise.”
Make green spaghetti and garlic bread
There’s more to St. Patrick’s Day cuisine than corned beef and cabbage. As a sign of solidarity with our friends in Italy who have been offering advice on how to survive a pandemic, why not make some green spaghetti this St. Patrick’s Day? Okay, it looks a little disgusting, but it tastes the same as regular spaghetti. Now is not the time to lie.
Coler says she made green spaghetti on her favorite St. Paddy’s Day of all time. It looks a lot like spaghetti with pesto until you put marinara on top. “It’s pretty weird looking but still tastes good,” she says. Coler says all you need to do is put quite a lot of green food coloring into the water as you boil your pasta. For the garlic bread, don’t dye the bread, but make it green by mixing the food coloring with soft butter and then spreading it on the bread, which you then heat in the oven.
Catch up on an Irish movie
Ireland is known for more than leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. We can thank Ireland for giving us movie stars Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan and Saoirse Ronan. Ireland has also been front and center in some pretty good movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Here are five favorites:
Dame Judi Dench received an Oscar nomination for this story of a woman in search of the son taken away from her years earlier in an Irish convent.
Saoirse Ronan stars in a heartfelt story about an Irish immigrant in America.
The Crying Game
If you're looking for one of the biggest surprise endings in cinema this is it.
A cute romantic comedy starring Amy Adams
My Left Foot
Daniel Day-Lewis is crazy good in this story of an artist with cerebral palsy
A scaled-down celebration - The Irish might not be great at social distancing, especially if you're to believe the stereotype that has followed them for years — party people who drink merrily and fight just as hard. But you don’t need to go to a bar to celebrate in style. Save a little of that food coloring from the green spaghetti to make your green beer. Open up your Irish cream or eat some potato candies or green cupcakes.
No one will judge you if you still wear your green clothes and dance a jig. It’s the ultimate “Dance like no one is watching.”
When all is said and done, St. Patrick’s Day should be back to normal next year, and we just might miss the days of a laid back holiday. Coler sums it up this way:
“We have always tried to make a celebration out of everything. It’s not about the party, it’s about the people," she says. "Family and friends are a wonderful reason to celebrate. They leave us with great memories and hope for the future.”
Take that, Coronavirus.
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