Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Also affectionately known as St. Paddy’s Day or St. Patty’s Day, it’s the one day each year that everyone and anyone calls themselves Irish – if not by birthright, then in spirit. If you have been living under the Blarney Stone, lucky you! We bet you can share a thing or two about how a religious feast day commemorating the famed Irish patron saint who brought Christianity to Ireland ended up being a day celebrated almost globally, usually involving copious amounts of green beer and whisky shooters.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other single-day national festival, largely due to America’s enthusiasm for what many consider a holiday, although it is not an official holiday in America.
Parades are the heartbeat of St. Patrick Day festivities in America. This is not surprising, since the first parade held in St. Patrick’s honor took place in America, not Ireland, in 1601 in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. And the first actual St. Patrick’s Day parade also took place in America, in 1737, although it was pretty much just a stroll down the middle of a street in Boston by a few Irish Protestants to honor the patron saint of their motherland.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City was held in 1762, fourteen years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence and was organized by Irish troops serving in British colonies. Today the world’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration is the annual parade in New York City, where more than two million spectators line the parade route, all claiming to be Irish, at least for the day.