Almost every day, someone posts on Facebook or another social media site, declaring the day to be “National Best Friend’s Day” or “National Siblings Day.”
We all need things to look forward to and ways to celebrate those we love. The next opportunities to do so are on March 17th and April 1st. St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are two commonly celebrated holidays that we can all anticipate over the last days of winter.
These are two holidays typically marked as “observed” on the calendar, but what does that mean?
Celebrating Holidays in “Observance”
There are a few different kinds of holidays that are important to consider when you make plans for celebrating. Federal holidays are days like Christmas or Thanksgiving, when you legally get the day off from work.
However, there are plenty of other holidays that are not national holidays. You may notice that if a national holiday falls on a weekend, the following Monday calendars will read “Independence Day, observed.” This means that federal holiday is recognized on that Monday, as well as being celebrated over the weekend.
Holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, though, illustrate a difference observance definition. In this example, we define observance as being in remembrance, awareness, or celebration of days that we do not get off of work.
So when we observe St. Patrick’s Day, we are remembering a significant part of Irish heritage, while also using the day to celebrate with families by going out. Easter is observed by Christians who choose to go to church to be aware of the sacrifices made for them.
Fun Ways to Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day
Originally, St. Patrick’s Day was not celebrated in Ireland. The holiday began as a way for Irish immigrants to the United States to remember their homeland and the patron saint of Ireland: St. Patrick.
The traditional way to observe this holiday is to take part in a Feast of St. Patrick, alongside drinks, food, and parades.
You can celebrate this holiday whether or not you are Irish. Start with having some traditionally Irish food. You will need to find a recipe or restaurant that is potato heavy. One example of traditional Irish food is Shepherd’s Pie, which is made beef and vegetables and topped with potatoes.
Next, drink Irish. The number one Irish beer is, of course, Guinness. However, you can find plenty of other options if you find yourself at an Irish pub. You can also choose to go the liquor route, by celebrating with an Irish whiskey like Jameson or Tullamore Dew.
Finally, find out if there is a St. Patrick’s Day parade near where you live. If you have kids, it could be fun to take them to an Irish celebration even if you are not Irish. They can use it as a learning experience while also having a blast.
Spend Time with Family on Easter Sunday
Traditionally, Easter is known as a religious holiday. However, you can celebrate this day even if you are not a Christian.
Easter originally began as a pagan holiday, long before Christians began celebrating Jesus’s resurrection. The day was used to celebrate the coming of spring, and this is where the traditions involving eggs and rabbits stems from.
Another way you can celebrate Easter is to decorate Easter eggs with your family. Start with hard boiled eggs and a few colors of food dye. You can mix the primary colors that most food dye sets have to create other exciting colors like purple and orange. To take your egg decorating skills to the next level, use a white crayon to draw designs before dipping the egg in food coloring. The white crayon stops dye from adhering to the egg so your design stays beautiful.
You can also take part in an Easter egg hunt, and have someone dress up as the Easter Rabbit. Any children in your life will surely enjoy this occasionally rowdy way to celebrate.
In the United States, it is common to have a family dinner with your loved ones. Most of these dinners use ham as the main course, with side dishes consisting of mashed potatoes or dishes reminding us of spring. You may consider a strawberry salad or glazed carrots.
And you are likely always welcome at most churches in your area. If you are intrigued by the idea of celebrating the Christian roots of Easter, many churches are very welcoming to newcomers and guests.
Choosing Which Holidays to Observe
Whichever holidays you choose to celebrate, investigate what is going on around your home. You may be surprised to find community and a ton of exciting events surrounding almost any holiday. Whatever you do, make sure to have fun and enjoy yourself.
From all of us, we hope your observances of these holidays are full of love and fun.