The feast of Saint Patrick, or St Patrick’s Day, is both a cultural and a religious celebration. It’s held annually on March 17. However, studying the British patron saints is interesting at any time of the year. (The four patron saints of the UK are, of course, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick and St David. Respectively, they are the patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.)

Patrick was a 5th-century Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. There are many traditional legends about him. In one version, he was a kidnapped shepherd and became a priest when he returned home to Ireland. Another story has him driving the snakes out of Ireland. (Indeed, there are no native snakes in Ireland. They are not an indigenous animal.) It is probable that he was simply a missionary working to convert the Irish Pagans to Christianity. The snakes may be an allegory about driving away the druidic influence, as he was promoting Christianity to Pagans.

Going Green for St Patrick’s Day

The modern commercialisation of St Paddy’s Day, to give it a colloquial name, has influenced celebrations in many countries – not just the UK and Ireland. The colour green is greatly associated with Ireland and St Patrick. (Shamrocks are the national flower of Ireland; they’re considered lucky by some people.) Rainbows, leprechauns¬†and pots of gold are also strongly associated with Ireland – and, thus, with St Patrick’s Day. (For context, this feels somewhat like wild haggis being associated with St Andrew’s Day!) The idea that there’s a pot of gold, guarded by a leprechaun, at the end of a rainbow is something that captures the imagination of many children. This can be great fun for creative writing or colourful artwork.

Whatever else may be fictionalised, St Patrick himself remains revered as a patron saint. And green shamrocks are the Irish national flower. (The other national flowers of the UK are Scottish thistles, Welsh daffodils and English roses.)

St Patrick’s Day Resources

There are lots of lovely themed resources if you are studying St Patrick. Notebooking pages are always a good resource for recording independent research. General templates can be brightened up by drawing a green shamrock in a corner. (Use Google or Pinterest to browse your favourites.) In the meantime, check out some lovely freebies in my resource round-up.

St Patrick's Day shamrock collage.

Mixed media shamrock collage.

St Patrick's Day multiplication worksheet.

Multiplication Gold free worksheet from Education.com

While you’re searching for that pot of gold, take a break for some multiplication practice! Find even more fun ways to practice multiplication here.

Beyond St Patrick’s Day

Looking further through the year, you may like to focus on the other UK patron saints too. To be honest, the other feast days are not as widely celebrated as St Patrick’s Day. However, many British towns may hold local events and some expat communities may mark the occasion. Certainly, a notebook¬†page for each patron saint – with some facts and a sketch of the national flower – would make a very interesting addition to your Social Studies file. This lends itself very well to cross curricula studies, with the religious and cultural connotations. Also, the scope to explore Art, ELA, History and Geography.

Did you celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Are you planning to brush up your knowledge of the British patron saints? Wherever and whenever you may be, I wish you the luck of the Irish!