Thinking Green: Creating St. Patrick’s Day Badges
Holidays are a great time to enjoy special foods, get dressed up and celebrate something unique, such as leprechauns and the color green! St. Patrick’s Day is one such holiday. They say wearing green on this day is supposed to make you invisible to leprechauns so you can’t get pinched. The three-leafed clover explains the holy trinity in Christianity and is a symbol of luck, making this a day full of good fortune. In Ireland, people historically wore clovers or round badges on St. Patrick’s Day, and many still do.
The Silva family looks to the “lucky” part of the day for their observance. Two years ago, their son Asa, now age four, was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder, Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, causing severe developmental delay and autism. Parents Talya and Arturo Silva say they feel so fortunate to have found their own PMS community. Their older sons, Ezra, a fourth grader and Jonah, a first grader, are home educated, and Asa attends the Hello Autism Clinic in Bellaire.
“We never paid much attention to St. Patrick’s Day until our younger child, Asa, was diagnosed with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome,” Talya shares. A few years ago, another PMS parent created the green “Phelan Lucky” shirt, which featured green clovers, to raise awareness and funds for the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation. Many celebrities showed their support for the foundation by buying a shirt, including Jerry Mathers of “Leave it to Beaver” fame. The foundation raised more than $66,000 from the Phelan Lucky shirt. PMS Awareness Day is Oct. 22, and last year, the Silva family asked the City of Houston to light the Montrose Bridges and City Hall green to raise awareness and add something new and fun to the holiday.
Every year, the Parmer family likes to get in on the holiday celebration. Mom Lindsay always tries to make something “yummy and delish for a snack after school that is green.” She usually goes with something basic like a muffin or a cupcake turned up a notch with color. Her sons Mason, in kindergarten, and Evan, in second grade, both attend St. Mark’s Episcopal school, and enjoy putting on all the green clothing they can find, hats included.
In my own home, we each try to find something green to wear each year. My husband usually sports an Oaklandish T-shirt in Oakland As green, my son usually goes with his Reno Aces or Oregon Ducks shirt and my daughter picks one of many green tops. I usually go with the “my eyes are green so I am set” line of logic!
Looking for a way to celebrate at home? Here’s one craft to try with the family:
Traditionally, badges featuring a cross and flower blossoms made of fabric were worn for St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. Kids can make their own badge using air dry clay and coins, like in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, to imprint circles or a clover shape. Lines can be rolled across in any pattern.
My son Ezra, age three, loves playing with clay so he really enjoyed this project. He could do all the steps from rolling the clay to placing the coins, but I helped cut out the circles. Of course, when he was done, he asked me to “open” the coins, hoping there was chocolate inside!
- Air dry clay
- Rolling pin
- Round cookie cutter or glass
- A straw
- Flat back safety pin and glue or Velcro
Roll out one color, or a mix of colors, to about ⅛” thick. You can use green clay or make a rainbow combo. Cut out circles with a cup or cookie cutter, 3-4” is a nice size. Press different coins into the clay. Try making patterns, or clover leaves. Use the sides of the coins to make lines and see if colors come up through the clay. Cut a hole with a straw if you want to hang it up.
Allow to dry and attach a pin to the back with glue to wear or string a ribbon through the hold to hang up.
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