“The Leprechauns Are Coming!” How I Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day In Singapore – By Expat Andrea McKenna Brankin

This one Irish-American mama is keeping her traditions alive.
27 February 2020


Traditionally, our Irish-American family made a big deal out of St. Patrick’s Day mainly because my late father was born on the day.

Between a family party that included corned beef and cabbage with green pineapple upside down cake and a few drinks for the adults, everyone wore green and everyone talked about the leprechauns coming.

Wikipedia has a nice description of what a leprechaun is. To paraphrase, it’s a type of fairy in Irish folklore. Typically, leprechauns are very small, wear green clothes, have little beards and hats and are particularly mischievous. Supposedly, they are solitary creatures who mend shoes and protect a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I’m not sure if we have the same exact interpretation in America, but we definitely have our own lore about the leprechauns’ annual appearance. In our house, they sometimes left candy or gifts, much like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

Also, in addition to searching for the end of the rainbow, we were brought up to believe that if you can catch a leprechaun, you can get his pot of gold and three wishes. Hence, the introduction of the “leprechaun trap”. This was always family affair – with sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, fathers, mothers and grandparents talking about how the little people would come around on St. Patrick’s Day, and we need to trap them to get their gold!

How We’re Celebrating in SG

This year in our house, we needed a little help to carry out our favorite festive holiday, so to Amazon I went. Truth be told, I marked some St. Pat’s gear on my Amazon account almost a year ago and started ordering it in February.

I got a super-cute St. Patrick’s Day gnome stuffed toy that we decided was going to guard the house, so our own little leprechaun doesn’t go around searching for the St. Patrick’s Day gifts. As such, my daughter woke up with the gnome sitting outside her door with a little scribbled note that said, “No sneaking!”

In addition, my husband and I have done a bang-up job preparing for the St. Pat’s surprise: I ordered leprechaun footprint stickers to put all around the floor to prove that the Little People had visited. Since they’re known for their cool kicks, it should be a fun addition to this year’s festive décor.

Of course, we have plans to build the leprechaun traps, which require boxes, sticks for a stand and various paints, stickers and dazzling doodads to attract the little guys. We decided that this is the year the trap will actually catch a leprechaun (or something close). I’ve got a great green pot, gold and green coins, a leprechaun stuffed toy and – the big kicker – a blowup rainbow pool float!

If you’re not setting up tricky traps to land you a leprechaun at home, there’s plenty to celebrate outside the home!

St. Patrick’s Day festivities have really ramped up in the last several years in Singapore. While they haven’t taken to dyeing the Singapore River green, like they do at home in Chicago, they certainly celebrate the occasion.

This year, there are tons of events happening in Singapore (check out this St. Paddy’s 2020 event round up).

As one of the last years my husband and I may have with playing leprechaun lore with our daughter (and her believing it!), we really hope to hit the jackpot this year. Then, we’ll be ready for all the weekend activities.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope to see you around… wearing green, of course.


About Andrea McKenna Brankin

Andrea McKenna Brankin is a journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the HCSA Dayspring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.

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