Saint Patrick or Saint Joseph?

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May the luck of the Irish be with you! Choose Go Au Pair and you won’t need luck!

It’s the third week of March. Spring is trying to make her appearance, and trust me, we are ready. Have you been celebrating this week? Did your Host Family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Monday? St. Joseph’s Day today? Both? I have a child born on the day between these two holidays (Happy Day-After-Your-Birthday, Daniella!), and we always celebrate both. Why? From where do these holidays originate? Both are interesting places, you’ll see, where your next au pair may call home, for now.

You probably know we celebrate St. Patrick’s day on the same day the fourth century patron saint of Ireland died. We traditionally wear green on that day and use shamrocks to decorate. It is said that Saint Patrick used the shamrock to teach the trinity to pagans in northern Ireland. Green was the color of the coat of arms and flag used by the Irish Catholic Confederation in the mid-1600s.

St. Joseph is considered the patron saint of Cicily and all people, schools and parishes named Joseph, as well as all carpenters, and a feast day is celebrated in Canada and Poland. Today is considered Father’s Day in some Catholic countries, including Spain, Portugal and Italy. This day is dedicated to the step-father of the Christ-child, Jesus of Nazareth, and spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Happy Father’s Day, particularly to all those step-fathers who love and support children to whom they have no biologic ties (Happy Father’s Day, honey!).

Since I can remember, including this past Monday, my family has had a traditional boiled dinner on St. Patrick’s Day. This consists of one giant pot, filled with boiled corned beef, potatoes, carrots and green cabbage. We soak it in butter, and some of us put vinegar on the cabbage. For leftovers the next day, if there are any, we usually fry it until all the ingredients get a little crispness to the edge. So delicious!

For St. Josephs Day, which I didn’t celebrate until I was an adult (since my family was not Catholic). All my Italian friends, and now me, celebrate St. Joseph’s Day by eating zeppoles, or at least one. If you haven’t tried a zeppole, a traditional Italian pastry eaten today, especially in Rhode Island, please visit the Original Italian Bakery in Johnston, and pick some up on your way home tonight! Other meatless dishes are traditional for St. Joseph’s Day feasts, since the holiday always falls during Lent, and is considered a holiday of abstinence. Also, foods with bread crumbs are popular because Joseph was a carpenter and the crumbs represent saw dust.

I hope I have educated you about this week’s holidays and I ask you to like my blog, then share with your au pair, family and friends. As always, I would love to hear what you did on either holiday. Did you drink any green beer? That might be an east coast thing, so any west-coasters reading this, let me know!

Contact me, Joan Lowell, your Local Area Representative for Go Au Pair in Providence, at 401.309.1925 or jlowell@goaupair.com. You can find me on Facebook, too!  I look forward to helping your family have the best cultural childcare experience ever!

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