Other than wearing green so you do not get pinched and maybe eating some corn beef and cabbage, you may not do much to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Created to celebrate the Roman Catholic feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to immerse yourself in Irish culture and enjoy some festivities. One iconic part of this green holiday is the legend of the leprechaun and his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Use this as inspiration to create fun activities and treats to enjoy on March 17th.
A Little BackgroundStart the fun with a little trivia on that sneaky leprechaun and his gold. The word leprechaun can be traced back to an Old Irish word “luchorp(an)” meaning “small body”. It is interesting to note in Irish folklore, the leprechauns are never the leads in story but are mostly helps or hindrances to heros. There are multiple theories as to where the legend of the leprechaun began. The main two are:
- Leprechauns are fairy cobblers.
- Leprechauns are Tuatha De Danann, which are people of the goddess Danann. Some say they were gods and followers of the pagan gods of Ireland but became small when people stopped worshipping them.
Leprechauns and their connection to gold dates back to a story that states leprechauns carry two pouches: one with a silver coin that returns to the pouch when given away and the other with a gold coin (used to get out of tricky situations) that turns to ash when given away.
Legend has it a leprechaun will reveal the location of their gold if asked and looked in the eye. You can also follow a rainbow or the sound of a cobbler’s hammer to find the gold’s location.
The first gold coins were minted in Lydia in 560 B.C., as mentioned here, but the gold coin has since been replaced with paper money to represent its value. However, as your friends and family play these games, they will learn to treasure their “gold coins” as well as any leprechaun.
Pot o’ Gold Scavenger Hunt: Give your party attendees hints and clues as to the location of multiple pots of gold. As they go about their scavenger hunt, they can fill their own “pots” with their gold coins and other golden goodies.
Pot o’ Gold Craft: Allow each child to create their own pot of gold with a black cup, rainbow colored pipe cleaners and an assortment of gold colored candies. First, align the pipe cleaners horizontally to look like a rainbow and then twist the ends together to help them stay put. Staple each rainbow end to a side of the cup to create the rainbow indicating the location of the gold. Provide gold treats for each person to make their own treasure.
Pot o’ Gold Handprint: Paint each finger and corresponding vertical area of the hand one color of the rainbow, going across the hand and creating a rainbow. While the paint is still wet, press the hand on a piece of paper to make a rainbow handprint. Provide markers, paints or crayons for each person draw their own pot to hold the gold. You can either give them chocolate gold coins and let them glue the wrappers on the top of the pot (and eat the chocolate!) or just let them draw the gold on top.
Pot o’ Gold Toss: Provide each person with a “pot” (plastic tub spray painted black) and throw “gold” into the air (gold coins or soft, yellow balls for younger children). Everyone will try to catch as much gold in their pot as they can. Once a piece of gold touches the ground, It is out of play for that round. Toss until all have been caught and the one with the most gold wins.
You will definitely need some great pot o’ gold treats to go along with all that playing! Try some of these festive goodies.
Pot o’ Gold Fruit and Veggie Tray: If you are wanting to be more health conscious, consider creating a treat for the tummy and the eyes by using different fruits to create the rainbow and pot of gold. Fruits such as strawberries, oranges, kiwi, blueberries, pineapple, and grapes as well as veggies like celery, different kinds of peppers, and carrots can help form the rainbow. Put a bowl of chick peas, bananas, or gold colored fruit dip at the end.
Pot o’ Gold Cupcake: Allow each person to create their own end of the rainbow, pot of gold scene with frosting and candies on their own cupcake. Make sure to bake them in a black cupcake liner to automatically serve as the “pot”.
Pot o’ Gold Mousse Cups: Fill cups with chocolate mousse to serve as the pot and sprinkle pieces of rice krispie or crumbled cookie on the top. Add some golden sprinkles to add to the gold look!
This St. Patrick’s Day, you can help those around you experience the holiday in a new way with fun activities and tasty treats that will help them feel like a leprechaun with their own coveted pot o’ gold.
Author: Alyssa Craig