People wearing green with a hint of orange and white litter the streets every year on March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day. A holiday that is the death date of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Although it is a cultural and religious day, almost everyone celebrates the day in spirited celebration. The celebration first became a public holiday for Ireland in 1903, but it was celebrated long before that. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was in New York in 1762, years before it even became a public holiday. Now, the festivity is celebrated all over the world, whether one is Irish or not.
There is no unimpeachable reason as to why St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most globally celebrated holidays; however, the explanation can be found within the Irish immigrants who demonstrated their culture in American society. In Ireland, you would not have seen a St. Patrick’s Day Parade until around the 1990’s. In America, parades started around the 1800’s, and each city celebrated differently across the country. New York City has various celebrations in every corner of the five boroughs. The most famous is its annual parade that starts on 44th Street, passing St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th, and ends on East 80th Street at the American Irish Historical Society. On the Sunday closest to March 17th, in the city of Boston, a parade captivates around one million observers. There are also bands that play live Irish music at numerous venues across the city. In the windy city of Chicago they are known for dyeing the Chicago River a vibrant green a few days before the holiday along with a parade downtown for the Irish celebration. Each of these famous cities celebrate this widely holiday in a similar ways with slight differences.
The country of Ireland celebrates their national holiday in a more diverse way than the United States. Most Christians in Ireland consider St. Patrick’s Day as a holy day and attend Church in their best clothes with a shamrock pinned to their chest. The holiday celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. They then will have a large roast dinner and watch the various St. Patrick’s Day parades around the world. The first parade in Ireland to celebrate the holiday was in Dublin in 1995. The Irish government thought it would be a valuable way to attract tourism, but in reality, it brought the whole world together.
We may never know how the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day spread its festivity to other countries, but we can say it has taken a great affect over all of us. Everyone celebrates in their own way, but the similar traditions will always remain between the various parades and crowds wearing innumerable shades of green. It has brought people together for a day to celebrate an annual tradition.
Graphics: Maraea Garcia