The Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held annually on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day. If St. Patrick’s Day is on a Sunday it’s held on St. Patrick’s Day. Thousands of people line the streets of Philadelphia to see over 150 groups take part in the event. [Read more…]
Leprechauns are a type of mythical creature in traditional Irish folklore. A leprechaun is usually depicted as a small bearded man (no bigger than a child) who wears a green suit and a hat. They are known for engaging in activities of friskiness, are quite playful and sometimes tricky. According to folklore, leprechauns are extremely skilled in making shoes, as well as guarding treasures. They like to hide their valuables in pots and store them at the ends of rainbows. If captured by a human, a leprechaun must grant the human three wishes in order to be released. However, leprechauns tend to be quick, and they can instantly disappear if one doesn’t keep a close eye. Although they enjoy mischief, they are neither regarded as good nor evil. [Read more…]
Claddagh jewelry is part of a tradition that started in Ireland just over 300 years ago. The Claddagh ring has three components to it: the hands that circle the ring holding the heart, the heart shape at the center front of the ring, and the crown that sits atop the heart. The hands represent friendship and being together. The heart is the universal symbol of love and hope. The crown in the design represents loyalty. These three things togetther are very powerful. [Read more…]
The San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade had it’s 1st celebration in 1851 during the Gold Rush. Citizens attended a party at Haynes Valley Park and when night fell, they attended a Shamrock Ball at a popular saloon. Then two years later, on March 17, 1853, San Francisco had their first St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade was long, but everyone enjoyed themselves, and there was a grand ball to end the day. In 1854, the procession grew and they marched throughout the streets of San Francisco; and now it is the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade west of the Mississippi River. San Francisco was also named as one of the top 5 places in the United States to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parades continued into the next century as people celebrated the great Irish tradition. Each year, the parade consists of a different theme, depending on the current conditions throughout the country. One of the most emotional parades occurred in 2002 after the devastating events of September 11, 2001. The Irish population of San Francisco tried to help the city regroup after terrorist rocked the country with their devastating attacks on New York City and Washington D.C..
May St. Patrick guard you wherever you go and guide you in whatever you do –
And may his loving protection be a blessing to you always.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Photo credit: pixaby
This holiday is all about celebrating and here a few St. Patrick’s Day fun facts you can share with your friends and family.
- Saint Patrick was born in England not Ireland
- St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he died on March 17 in the year 461 AD.
- The oldest Irish Brewery still in existence is the Guinness Brewery in Dublin from 1759. Some of the oldest breweries have been around for over 1,000 years. Irish beer is popular all year not just on St. Patricks Day, and many towns have popular Irish Pubs, the oldest is McSorley’s Ale House established in 1854.
- The original color of St. Patrick is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day during the 19th century.
- Green, in Irish legends were worn by fairies and immortals, and also by people to encourage their crops to grow. The national color of Ireland is green
- The most famous legend regarding St. Patrick is that he rid Ireland of snakes by ringing his bell from the top of Croagh Patrick, the 2500 feet tall, conical mountain near Westport. Of course this isn’t a true fact, but makes for an amusing anecdote. The mountain however has become a place of annual pilgrimage. There is an ancient church at the top and at the base a natural spring well known as Patrick’s well or Tobair Padraig – St. Patrick supposedly baptized the first Irish converts at this well.
- Saint Patrick did not actually drive the snakes out of Ireland, the snakes represent the pagans that he converted to Christianity.
- Saint Patrick used the shamrock to teach converted Christians about the holy trinity.
- In 1903 James O’Mara, a member of the Irish parliament, had a new law passed that recognized that St. Patrick’s Day was a religious holiday and because of this all pubs were closed for the next 67 years when the law was overturned and the holiday was no longer a religious observance.
- The city with the largest population of Americans of Irish descent is Boston (23%)
- Over 8 million St. Patrick’s Day cards are exchanged in America making today the ninth-largest card selling occasion in the US.
- The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was in Boston in 1737.
- 36 million The number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (slightly more than 4 million). Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.
- Some American towns have “Irish” names. You could visit: Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia; Shamrock Lakes, Indiana; Shamrock, Oklahoma; Shamrock, Texas; Dublin, California and Dublin, Ohio.
- Today New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is the longest running civilian parade in the world. This year nearly three million spectators are expected to watch the spectacle and some150,000 participants plan to march.
- Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is little more than 75 years old
- More than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across the United States; New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations.
- Chicago is famous for a somewhat peculiar annual event: dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday. That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river— enough to keep it green for a week!
- In 1948, President Truman attended New York City ‘s St. Patrick’s Day parade, a proud moment for the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and racial prejudice to find acceptance in America.
- When General George Washington’s troops seized Boston from the British on March 17, 1776, the word “Boston” was used as the password and “St. Patrick” as the reply.
- Traditional Irish greeting on St. Patrick’s Day: “Beannacht na feile Padrig oraibh,” which means “May the blessings of St. Patrick be with you.”
- An Irish toast: “May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.
- Finding a four-leaf clover. Each leaf on the clover represents something: hope, faith, love and luck. Throughout history four-leaf clovers have been thought to bring luck, mostly because they are so rare, as there are no clover plants that naturally produce four leaves.
- Leprechauns are little old men who make shoes for fairies. They are about two feet tall and very mischievous. Legend has it that you can find a leprechaun by listening for his hammer, as they are always hard at work. If you catch one, you are entitled to his pot of gold. However, they’re very quick, and if you take your eyes off of them for a split second they will disappear with their treasure.
- What do you call the stick leprechauns carry? Shillelagh. The leprechauns use the shillelagh to gain access to their rainbow. The stick is crooked and made of wood.
- What type of tree do leprechauns supposedly live in? Hawthorn. The Irish would dance around hawthorn trees and hope to catch a leprechaun coming out for good luck. Leprechauns are good luck… if you can catch one…
From its beginnings as a religious feast day, St. Patrick’s Day has become a celebration of all things Irish. The holiday commemorating Saint Patrick officially happens on March 17, but St. Patrick’s Day Parades and St. Patrick’s Day Parties often happen on a weekend near the official date.
St. Patrick’s Day History
The real Saint Patrick wasn’t born in Ireland, but in Roman Britain in the late fourth century. Captured at the age of sixteen and held as a slave in Ireland for over a decade, Patrick escaped to Gaul and became a priest. Despite his years of servitude, he’d developed an abiding love for the people of Ireland and returned there to bring Christianity to the Emerald Isle.
Shamrocks are the symbol most associated with St. Patrick because he used the plant’s three leaves to illustrate the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. Although four leaf clovers are considered lucky, they aren’t the same as St. Patrick’s shamrock. Authentic or not, four-leaf clover decorations look just as festive.
Despite its celebratory atmosphere, this holiday became known beyond Ireland’s shores for a grim reason. The Great Famine that struck Ireland in the middle of the nineteenth century sent hungry emigrants fleeing Ireland. As tragic as the famine was, the world is richer today thanks to the spread of Irish culture.
St. Patrick’s Day Parades
One of the most popular ways to celebrate the saint is with a parade. Floats decked in green, white, and orange bear riders dressed as leprechauns or wearing St. Patrick’s Day costumes featuring the ubiquitous shamrocks. At some parades, riders hand out cabbages and potatoes to the crowd; these favorite Irish ingredients are later cooked up and served as a St. Patrick’s Day dinner of Irish stew. At other parades, it’s tradition to exchange a kiss for a St. Patrick’s Day gift of a paper flower or strand of plastic beads.
Cities with large Irish populations generally host the largest parades. Boston, Chicago, and New York City host extravagant parades, while New Orleans and Savannah feature many smaller parades to celebrate the holiday.
St. Patrick’s Day Parties
For those who prefer a more private celebration, parties are also common on St. Patrick’s Day. Irish music and a menu of Irish dishes help set the tone, but a proper St. Patrick’s Day party isn’t complete without a selection of Irish beers. Other traditional drinks include Irish whiskey, Irish coffee, or commonplace cocktails with a splash of green coloring.
Beer and whiskey work for adults’ parties, but the holiday is a favorite of children, too. Favorite non-alcoholic drinks include limeade and punch served with green-tinted cherries. St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes topped with green icing will make both children and sweet-toothed adults happy.
Party games like bending backward to discover how to kiss the Blarney Stone or trying out a few steps of Irish dancing go over well with kids old enough to appreciate Irish history. Younger children can enjoy a taste of Irish culture with St. Patrick’s Day-themed versions of musical chairs or a “pot of gold” coin toss.
Whether celebrating with the whole community or at a small party, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day Parades have been traditional for many cities, towns, and villages for over 250 years. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was not held in Ireland, but America, by Irish honoring their roots. St. Patrick’s Day Parades are now held all over the world. [Read more…]
Saint Patrick, whose feastday is celebrated on the 17th of March, is the patron saint of Ireland and was born in 387 A.D. and died in 461 A.D. St. Patrick is set apart from the other saints due to its recognition in the secular as well as religious world. The only other two saints which are recognized by the secular world is St. Valentine and St. Nicholas, popularly known as Santa Claus. Throughout the world, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th. [Read more…]