March feast days feel like such a breath of fresh air amidst the sacrifices and solemnity of Lent! When I sat down to look through the liturgical calendar for the month and choose which feast days we wanted to celebrate (there are SO many, so we celebrate the ones that are the most important or well-known, plus days that have special meaning to our family), it just so happened that they all fell in the second half of the month. I love that this is adding to the anticipation and excitement for the celebration that is to come on Easter!
Like I mentioned at the beginning of the year, intentionally celebrating the liturgical year and different feast days is new to us, and I deeply want these celebrations to become a big part of our family culture as our family grows/grows up. In order to keep things simple and doable, I’ve started approaching feast days by asking three questions:
1. What simple decorations or visual changes can we make to remind us that this day is special?
2. What is something special we can eat (it’s called a feast day, after all!) to celebrate this day?
3. What prayers or devotions can we do to help us grow more deeply in our relationships with God in connection with this day? (I should also mention that the number one way we try to celebrate each feast day is attending Mass–if all our efforts and energy need to go toward that, then that’s the priority.)
I tried out this “system” for the first time for the three March feast days we’ll be celebrating, so I wanted to share what I came up with today!
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
Decorate: St. Patrick is well-known for using shamrocks to help explain the Trinity, so it’s no wonder that shamrocks and this feast day go hand in hand. Since the mainstream culture has embraced this particular symbol, it’s not too hard to find pretty (read: not cheesy) shamrock decor with a little bit of digging. I love this serving platter, and this garland is similar to the one that we have. In a pinch, here’s a sweet printable download to frame and display. Perhaps my favorite idea? Check the floral sections of grocery stores for shamrock plants–I found the one pictured above at Whole Foods last year.
Eat: Anything Irish! While St. Patrick himself was not Irish, he lived and preached in Ireland for decades and is beloved as the patron Saint of Ireland. Take a peek back at the Irish dinner party we had for Dave’s birthday last year for a few Irish-inspired recipes we enjoyed. If you have little ones, anything shamrock-shaped (sandwiches, cookies, etc.) is sure to be a hit.
Pray: The Lorica of St. Patrick. It’s long, but so, so beautiful! Here’s a sample: “I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me; God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me…”
Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19)
Decorate: St. Joseph is frequently depicted in sacred art holding lilies, so I love the idea of a super simple centerpiece using just a few lilies…especially if they’re in a wooden vase, since he was a carpenter! This one is gorgeous.
Eat: St. Joseph’s feast day is particularly beloved in Italy, which is where the custom of eating minestrone soup on March 19 originated. I want to try this recipe, but if you’re short on time, this one only takes half an hour. A handful of sources I read also mentioned zeppole as a traditional treat–this recipe sounds amazing! Honestly, though, I might just pick up a bag of “hot mini” doughnuts at Sola Coffee and call it a day :)
Pray: I LOVED the blog post “The Devil Hates My Husband (and Something I Can Do About It)” on Better than Eden about praying specifically for your husband leading up this feast day. She mentions the St. Joseph novena, which is beautiful and I highly recommend it, but any prayer for your husband or reflection on St. Joseph’s role as Mary’s husband and Jesus’ earthly father would be so meaningful. I fall into the trap far too often of thinking I pray for Dave more often than I am, so looking ahead to this feast day has been a great reminder that as his wife, I’m called to pray for him more than anyone else.
Feast of the Annunciation (March 25)
Decorate: The color blue has been associated with Mary for centuries, so wear something blue or set your table with blue pieces! If you’ve ever seen pictures of our house, it’s probably no surprise that the latter is an easy one for us :) I linked some beautiful blue tableware/linens below that would be perfect for this and other Marian feast days throughout the year.
Eat: Here’s a funny story: waffles, of all things, are traditionally eaten on the Feast of the Annunciation because in Swedish, “Vårfrudagen” (Our Lady’s Day) sounds a lot like “Våffeldagen” (waffle day). At some point, it looks like the miscommunication was just embraced, because I read about the tradition of eating waffles on March 25 on multiple blogs. I’m all for it!
Pray: Reflect on Luke 1:26-38 (the account of the Annunciation) and/or pray the Angelus. I love the idea of specifically lifting up pregnant friends, unborn babies, and women experiencing crisis pregnancies in prayer on this day.
Solemnities are Not For Being Solemn: What They Are, Why They Matter… (Catholic All Year)
Twelve (Simple!) Ways to Celebrate the Annunciation (Better Than Eden)
Why Mary Has to Hold the Cards: Thoughts on the Annunciation, Assault, and Free Will (Carrots for Michaelmas)
10 Things You Might Not Know About St. Patrick (Blessed Is She)