For those of you who are not pagan and reading, the biggest issue that most pagans have with the holiday is the celebration of a saint who is said to have driven the snakes from Ireland. Now this may seem rather innocuous, however, you need to understand the metaphor being used here. Snakes represent the old pagan ways and religions, and St. Patrick was responsible for replacing the old religions by spreading Christianity. To some this is rather offensive as celebration of the elimination of their belief systems, and leads to some refusing to celebrate the holiday or protest it.
In my family, our kids are to small to really grasp the true meaning behind the holiday. So we choose to concentrate on it more as a means of celebrating our Irish heritage. We read Celtic legends of times before St. Patrick and leave him out of the day for now. This allows us to do two things. The first is to still partake in a main stream celebration the day has become, that a lot of people most likely don't understand anyway. The second is to have a day dedicated to exploring where our ancestry came from. This year we will be reading Great Irish Legends for Children, by Yvonne Carrol
When they get older we may choose to celebrate it differently. One way to do this if your looking for an alternative way to celebrate the holiday is this. In the future I plan to add this in addition to our cultural day studies.
1. A fun idea to do is to wear snakes on your apparel.
2. Make a snake wreath to hang on your door. You may want to skip this idea if your not out of the "broom closet".
Here's an example. Feel free to give Patti over at About.com some love and click on the picture for the original site and instructions.