Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated around the world on March 17 each year. It began as a Catholic holiday and is celebrated on the day of the death of Saint Patrick. As you celebrate with your church group, family or Sunday-school class, there are several activities that help convey the religious aspect of the holiday. Relax and enjoy as you chase leprechauns, find three leaf clovers and feast on everything Irish.
Saint Patrick's Day Dinner
Host a Saint Patrick's Day dinner/fundraiser for your church, youth group or other religious group. Your priest or religious leader can begin the dinner with a prayer or readings regarding Saint Patrick. If possible, begin the dinner with a special mass in honor of Saint Patrick. Incorporate a religious game of Bingo after dinner. The scorecards will have the answers to facts about the religious origins of Saint Patrick's Day. Participants mark the answers with a chip on their scorecards. They have to get their facts straight to fill out their cards correctly. Include dessert and dancing after Bingo. Choose to keep it an adult-only function or include games and prizes for the little ones.
The Story of Saint Patrick
Arrange a story night for your church or youth group and share the story of Saint Patrick. This is an activity for people of all ages. Have a question and answer session at the end of the story along with coloring activities or a small craft for the children. Some topics for discussion include Saint Patrick teaching people about the Trinity using the shamrock, why Saint Patrick Day falls during the Lenten season and what led Saint Patrick to a life of Christianity.
Children (and adults) love treasure hunts. Choose the route and the amount of prizes depending on the ages of the participants. For large church groups, arrange everyone into groups of six. If you have a mixed age group, try to even out the ages in each group so the younger participants are not left behind. A treasure hunt for a large group will probably need a bit more preparation time and several people working as a team to pull it all together. Give clues based on questions regarding religious facts about Saint Patrick's Day. The group must answer a question correctly before obtaining the next clue. Have small prizes at each station such as gold coins, green lollipops or shamrock cookies. Whichever team wins the treasure hunt will win a larger prize such as a gift certificate.
Originally a Catholic holiday, shamrocks o Saint Patrick's Day represent the Christian Trinity: the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. A fun and simple activity for young children is to trace shamrocks onto green paper and cut them out. Label each leaf with the appropriate part of the Trinity and explain the concept to the children. Write "Father" on the top leaf, "Son" on the left leaf and "Holy Spirit" on the right leaf. Have small cutouts of a church, a cross and a dove on hand for the children to glue onto their shamrocks. The church is glued by "Father," the cross by "Son" and the dove by "Holy Spirit." If you would like a sturdier shamrock, have the children trace the shamrocks onto poster board, cut them out and color them green.
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Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.