If you’re looking for a new way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you may want to consider going to the New York City St Patrick’s Day Parade. Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day is a tradition that has been celebrated in New York for many generations. The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the entire world. This tradition has been alive and well since 1762, when New York held its first official St. Patrick’s Day parade. This annual event brings out the Irish and the non-Irish to celebrate this festive holiday. While St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a religious celebration, it also will tend to bring out the fun side to both religious and non-religious followers who wish to enjoy a day of wearing green and enjoying Irish food and Irish beer. As the saying goes, everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day.
The first official St. Patrick’s Day parade was held back in 1762. Irish immigrants in the British Colonial Army proudly walked down the city streets in an organized procession. As time went on, several Irish fraternal organizations would march in their own group to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in a display of dedication to Saint Patrick the Patron Saint of Ireland. The immigrants and fraternities finally joined together during the 1850’s and created one large unified event. This parade used to be organized primarily by military groups until the end of the war of 1811. As more groups began to join in the celebration, the size and popularity continued to grow exponentially. Today, it is one of the most famous and well-loved St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the entire world.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade is an annual event which honors the Patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. There are so many fun things to see and do in this favorite New York tradition. There is a group that plays the bagpipes each year, supported by the music of some of New York City’s best high school bands. There are plenty of other things to see, including floats, dancing, marching, singing and of course, waving. There are approximately 150,000 marchers, and you can easily expect about two million spectators. To get a great view, consider positioning yourself near the North side of the parade route, near the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some savvy spectators will find a spot on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art early so that they have an excellent place to relax and watch the parade.
There are many politicians that participate, and many New Yorkers come for the opportunity to see and interact with their local leaders. Guests of honor vary from year to year, so each year is an opportunity to see something new. It is usually chilly around this time, so be sure to dress warmly. One of the most honored spectators is His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of New York who watches from the steps of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
The 2011 New York St. Patrick’s Day parade will march up 5th Avenue, starting on 44th street and ending on 86th street starting at 11am on March 17th. The event is usually complete sometime in the late afternoon, around 4:30 or 5:00 pm. Bring your friends and family with you and get ready to have a great time.
photo credit: NYCMarines, A. Strakey