Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to everyone at home in the US of A!
This week for English Club on Tuesday with my older students, I made Saint Patrick’s Day the theme and showed them a Powerpoint slideshow about the holiday and how it is celebrated in the US. (Fellow PCVs-check out the slideshow here if you’re interested in using it for your classes!) Here are some of the facts that I shared:
- This holiday originated in Ireland as a holiday to celebrate St. Patrick.
- He was a Catholic missionary to Ireland who converted pagans to Christianity.
- Symbols of St Patrick’s Day include the shamrock, the leprechaun, and a pot of gold.
- Historically, it was a religious holiday, celebrating the feast day of the Catholic St. Patrick
- Today it is a secular holiday, celebrating Irish culture and history. People wear green clothes, drink green beer, and even dye the rivers green. People often incorporate the phrase, “Kiss me, I’m Irish” (even if they’re not, in fact, Irish).
- Interesting fact: 34 million Americans claim Irish heritage
The kids were really interested in St. Patrick’s Day, as many of them had never heard of it before. I showed them a picture of Chicago, where the river is dyed green in honor of the St. Patty’s Day festivities every year, and they were blown away. “How much dye does it take?” they asked, and I told them I honestly had no clue. I think it was a tie between green beer and green rivers, as to which part of St. Patty’s Day my students found most fascinating ; )
After we finished the slideshow, I quizzed them on the information I presented to see how much of it they retained. They answered all my questions correctly, and I reminded them to wear green on Thursday and tell all their friends that they were being Irish for the day. And today (Thursday), I saw that some of my students had remembered and worn green clothing! I was so excited, and I asked the students to explain St. Patrick’s Day to the rest of their classmates (who hadn’t come to English Club). I was thinking that they would mention who Saint Patrick was, or perhaps just say that its an Irish holiday. But no, that’s not what they recalled from English Club. The first student just said “its a holiday in America where everyone drinks green beer!” and the second student said “everyone says “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” Really, that’s all they remembered? After I finished laughing, I just explained the holiday myself, but I’m pretty sure the idea of green beer eclipsed any thought of a centuries-old Catholic missionary. They are teenagers, after all : P