Students, staff shamrock and roll

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at South


Victor Spuza and Maia Weissman

From attending  Chicago’s celebratory parade to enjoying homemade corned beef and cabbage around the dinner table, many families at South gather on March 17 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and honor their Irish heritage. 

St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional Irish holiday named after Saint Patrick, a Catholic saint who was responsible for converting the majority of the Irish population to Catholicism, according to Time Magazine. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and traditions vary amongst different families, freshman Timmy Crowe noted.

“[My family is] a very Irish family so we go all out, but I know other families just like to get a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s,” Crowe said.

For freshman Benjamin Parker and his family, celebrations include enjoying customary Irish cuisine with a heavy emphasis on corned beef and cabbage, Parker said. 

“I really like corned beef, and eating it with my family is probably my favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition,” Parker said. 

While food is one part of St. Patrick’s Day customs, others enjoy the community aspect, English Teacher Jaclin McGuire said. She celebrates the holiday with an abundance of family time, including a family trip to Chicago to view the dyeing of the Chicago River green, she explained. She and her family also enjoy watching several different parades leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, McGuire elaborated.

“My favorite [parade] for my kids is probably the South Side [parade] because that’s where my husband’s from,” McGuire said. 

A common custom for many families with younger children is to make a Leprechaun trap, Parker said. Leprechauns, traditionally mischievous creatures from ancient Irish folklore, are an intrinsic part of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, Parker added. Making traps was one of Parker’s favorite memories of the holiday as a child, and similar traditions are common among many families that celebrate the holiday, he explained. 

Junior Mary Grace Plante and her family also participate in this tradition in a unique way, Plante said. 

“One of my favorite memories is when my family used to pretend that a leprechaun got into my room, rearrange my room, and give me [chocolate] coins,” Plante said. 

Four-leaf clovers and wearing green are traditional St. Patrick’s Day customs, and they also contain symbolic meanings for the holiday, freshman Lindsey Bycraft said. Both are thought to be symbols of good luck, and are commonly used as home decorations around the time of the holiday, Crowe explained. 

“We have clovers everywhere in our house [for] good luck,” Crowe said, “We have them hanging all over, like over our fireplace in and in the kitchen.”

The family-centered nature of St. Patrick’s Day is what makes it special for most that celebrate, McGuire said.

“[At its core], it’s a family-oriented holiday,” McGuire said