One of the best things about our country is the melting pot of races and cultures. As people migrated to America and looked to live here, they brought a variety of traditions we still celebrate today. Tradition(s) is an important concept to teach to young children. Tradition means the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.
The Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day because it observes the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Over the years, the holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green. One of the traditions to come out of St. Patrick’s Day is the the finding of a 4 leaf clover for good luck.
Did you know the White Clover plant is the only real four-leaf clovers? I didn’t, but what I learned was this: the plant regularly produces four-leaf clovers which is one reason why they are so rare.
For the Irish, each leaf of the clover symbolizes a piece of tradition; one is for Faith, one for Hope, one for Love and the fourth for Luck. In Irish tradition, the three leaf clover represents the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, if someone was to find a clover with the fourth leaf then that fourth leaf represented God’s Grace. Legend also has it Eve carried a four-leaf clover out of the Garden of Eden with her to remind her of the wonderful garden she had been cast out of by God.
What better way to teach the traditions of the Irish people than to connect science with history! With the first day of spring a few days later, you can have your students observe the stages of a growth of a plant. It takes a clover plant a couple of days to start growing (if room temperature is above 59 degrees, only takes between 1-5 days to start germinating) and within 10-12 weeks from planting you should get your first flower! Here is what you need:
- Clover Seeds
- Book: What is St.Patrick’s Day
- Clear plastic cups
- Place to grow plants
- Observation Sheet
What you do:
Have the students make observations of the seeds (they are really tiny). Then plant in the soil and place in a sunny area. Have your children make observations of the plant growth over the weeks. As you near St. Patrick’s Day, read the book What is St. Patrick’s Day and talk about the traditions the Irish brought over when they settled in America. You can even listen to some Irish music and watch Irish dancing! Be sure to talk to your children about the term tradition and why traditions are passed from one generation to another!