St Patricks Day

Enjoy an environmentally friendly St. Patrick’s Day

Green is the color most associated with St. Patrick’s Day, and green also can be the primary mindset of hosts and hostesses when planning Paddy’s Day revelry. As celebrants prepare to pay homage to Irish culture and the accomplishments of St. Patrick, they can include eco-conscious practices in the festivities.

For many people, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to let loose and have a good time. Parades are abundant, and food and drink often are enjoyed in copious amounts. While this excess can make for a fun and raucous day, those who are conscious of their carbon footprints can scale back in some clever ways.

Enjoy a local brew

While many may prefer a pint of Ireland-brewed Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, imported beers have larger carbon footprints than local beers thanks to trans-Atlantic shipping and delivery to nearby retailers. Instead of Guinness, consider a locally-brewed beer. Homespun breweries are a growing niche business in communities big and small. If you’re more adventurous, invest in a home-brewing kit and try your luck with your own flavor profile.

Skip the confetti or ticker tape

Attending a parade can be the pinnacle of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. When so many people gather in one place, there’s a greater propensity for waste and litter. Although garbage cannot be avoided, towns and cities can help curtail the mess by avoiding confetti, balloon drops and ticker tape. Birds routinely get snagged by balloon strings, or they may inadvertently swallow popped latex balloons thinking they’re food. Confetti can wash away into storm drains or clog sewers. Bubbles, laser lights and other plastic- or paper-free items can be used instead and are better for the environment.

Invest in reusable products

If your’s is the go-to house for St. Patrick’s Day revelry, purchase tablecloths, dishes and cups that can be used again and again. This cuts down on the number of disposable items that get put in the trash and eventually find their way into landfills.

Transform your leftovers

Irish soda bread, corned beef, potatoes and much more are par for the culinary course come St. Patrick’s Day. Rather than discarding leftovers, consider recipes that will put those leftovers to good use. Dice up the corned beef to add to egg dishes or quiches. Post-Paddy’s Day sandwiches also make a delicious treat. Potatoes can be mashed and transformed into croquettes. Or they can be diced to make hash browns to go with those corned beef-enhanced eggs. Spread soda bread with a sweet jam and instantly turn it into a dessert. Or crumble the bread to use in a delicious bread pudding.

Splurge on an experience

Rather than material goods, if you want to set your party apart, invest in an experience that produces no waste. Contract with Uilleann pipers who can add a Celtic flair to the festivities. Although bagpipes are more widely associated with the Scottish, they have become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day as well.

Explaining the mythical leprechaun

Celtic culture is ripe with legends and myths that help to entertain and explain the mysteries of life. Among such lore are leprechauns, which are mythological figures that continue to impart whimsy into St. Patrick's Day celebrations even now.
The word "leprechaun" is derived from the Irish lu chorpain, meaning "small body." Various attributes have been used to describe leprechauns. While the origins and the history surrounding leprechauns differ, one common thread is that these creatures are surrounded in magic. Some believed leprechauns were descendents of the Goddess Danu and the Tuatha De Danaan. They inhabited Ireland long before the Celts arrived, and when the Celts did come, brandishing iron swords that could penetrate the leprechauns' magic, leprechauns fled to underground abodes in the soil shielded by magical, hidden entrances. Some say leprechauns still reside under the damp soil.
Other stories describe leprechauns as smart, devious creatures of fairy folk who were the only fairies to have a profession other than cattle trading. Leprechauns were shoemakers to the fairies who took the shape of men wearing green or red coats and hats and participated in mischief. Leprechauns hoarded all of their gold coins in a pot under a rainbow. Catching a leprechaun was tricky, as these "wee folk," as they were often described in folk tales, were quite adept at remaining out of arm's reach. Should one be captured by a human, folklore stated that the leprechaun must grant three wishes to earn his release. 
Some viewed leprechauns as serious sorts, keeping people away from sacred places and helping to control people's behaviors. Historians believe this was one for leaders to establish societal rules.
Descriptions of leprechauns and tales of their antics have survived in Ireland for centuries. When the Irish began emigrating to America during the Great Potato Famine, they brought with them their mythology and stories. However, the tale of the leprechaun has changed over time.
The Irish-American view of the leprechaun differed from the more traditional Irish view. Americans saw leprechauns as frivolous and silly. Leprechauns were depicted with broad, pug noses and out-of-style ratty clothing. Many negative stereotypes Americans directed at the swarms of Irish immigrants arriving in the United States were exemplified in the insensitive and, at times, hateful illustrations of leprechauns. 
Leprechaun mythology has been alive and well in Ireland for more than a thousand years and will likely live on for centuries more.