St Patricks Day 

St. Patrick's Day is a public holiday in Ireland, Montserrat, the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Suffolk County, Massachusetts It is widely celebrated elsewhere in North America and worldwide as a Christian, Celtic, and/or Irish culture holiday depending on who is celebrating it. It is observed on March 17th, the Feast day of St. Patrick which is the anniversary of his death. This has been observed as a religious holiday for over a thousand years by the Irish. Traditionally, Irish families would go to church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. St. Patrick's Day is during the season of Lent, however prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast on traditional meals such as Irish bacon and cabbage.

Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. St Patrick is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works,  the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a "most humble-minded man, continually giving thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God."  Both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church observe the feast day of Saint Patrick.
St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a celebration of Irish and Celtic culture. The Celts had an oral culture, in which their religion, folklore, history, and experience were passed from one generation to the next through story and song. After being conquered and forbidden to speak their own language by the English, the Irish turned to music and art to help them remember important events and pass on to their heritage and history.

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated with Parades; Song; Dance; Irish Food (Irish Soda, Corned Beef or Irish Bacon and Cabbage); Displaying Shamrock's, Leprechans, and Celtic Art; and Drinking Ale and Liquor (especially Irish Whiskey).

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place in the United States on March 17th, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.

Emblems associated with St. Patricks day are the same that represent Ireland itself.  The harp is the symbol of Ireland. Green is the color most associated with Ireland (the Emerald Isle). 

Irish soda bread is made from the use of baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent, giving it a special flavor and consistency. Although cabbage is traditional Irish food, corned beef became associated with St. Patrick's Day as recent as the beginning of the 20th century. Poor Irish immigrants in New York City's Lower East Side substituted corned beef for Irish bacon to save money.

The shamrock, or "seamroy", as known by the Celts, is sacred plant in ancient Ireland. It symbolizes the rebirth of spring. As the English began to seize Irish land and ban the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish wore the shamrock as a symbol of their National pride and displeasure with English rule.  According Irish legend, the first leaf of the clover is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and (if you find one) the fourth for luck.

Leprechans likely originated from the Irish word "leipreachan," which means "a kind of aqueous sprite".  Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick's Day until Disney released a film called Darby O'Gill & the Little People in 1959. The leprecans were happy and friendly compared to the leprechauns in Irish folklore. Despite being a Disney invention it evolved into a symbol of St. Patrick's Day and Irish Culture.


In Ireland, Saint Patrick's day is a much more faith and family based holiday than the American celebration. People traditionally wear shamrocks on their coats or hats. Children wear Irish Flag pins or badges, and women wear green ribbons in their hair. Up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated pubs to be closed on March 17th.  In recent years however, the college and urban communities have celebrated in a more festive American-style way. There are parades in Dublin, Galway, and Cork plus other venues. About 1 million people take part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin every year. It is a 4 or 5 day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions, music, exhibitions and fireworks shows.

The St. Patrick's Day celebrations in dublin are on
March 14th to March 18th, 2013
March 13th to March 17th, 2014

The All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship and The All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship are both held on Saint Patrick's Day in Croke Park, Dublin.  The Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup, Munster Schools Rugby Senior Cup and Ulster Schools Senior Cup are all held on Saint Patrick's Day. The Connacht Schools Rugby Senior Cup is held on the weekend before Saint Patrick's Day.

United States of America

In the United States of America, St. Pattrick's day is not an official holiday except for in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Unofficially it is widely recognized and celebrated throughout the country. It is primarily celebrated as a recognition of Irish and Irish-American culture. It is celebrated through prominent displays of the color green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades. Many of the Major American sports teams have alternative green jerseys for St. Patricks Day. 

In New York City, The first every St. Patrick's Day Parade took place. Irish soldiers who were serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17th, 1762, fourteen years before the Declaration of Independence. This was to re-connect with their roots and other Irish soldiers. In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one large New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world 's oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with an estimated 300,000 marchers and three million spectators. Marchers including bands, firefighters, military, police, county associations, emigrant societies, and social and cultural clubs. It is always led by the 69th Infantry Regiment (New York). The Commissioner of the parade always asks the Commanding Officer of the 69th if he is ready, to which the response is, "The 69th is always ready."

In 1845, nearly a million poor, uneducated Irish Catholics began pouring into America to escape starvation When the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland. They faced ridicule, stereotypes, and racial prejudice for their religious beliefs and foreign accents by the American Protestant majority. The Irish immigrants had trouble finding any jobs. Newspapers portrayed the Irish involved in the St. Patrick's Day parade as drunk, violent animals.  As numbers grew, the St. Patrick's Day parade became a display of the strength of the Irish American community. The Irish had grown in numbers and had started to organize. Their voting block, known as the "green machine," became an important swing vote for political hopefuls. Politicians, like President Truman in 1948, attended New York City 's St. Patrick's Day parade in support.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11th, the 2002 parade was dedicated to the 'Heroes of 9/11, ' honoring police, fire fighters, rescue workers and all those lost who lost their lives. At midday, the entire parade paused for two minutes – and all one and a half miles of marchers turned around to face south towards the “Twin Towers” while Cardinal Egan said a prayer for the victims of 9/11.

To this day, the St. Patrick's Day Parade remains true to its roots as a traditional marchers’ parade, not allowing floats, automobiles, or commercial aspects. The parade follows a 1.5 mile route along 5th Avenue, which takes over five hours.  The parade marches up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick's Cathedral at 50th Street all the way up past the Metropolitan Museum of Art and American Irish Historical Society at 83rd Street to 86th Street, where the parade finishes around 4:30 - 5:00 pm.

The Parade starts at 44th Street at 11 am and is held every March 17th except when March 17th falls on a Sunday, it is celebrated the day before, Saturday the 16th, because of religious observances. The Parade and festivities will me moved to March 16th in 2013 and 2019.  The event also has been moved on the rare occasions when, due to Easter falling on a very early date, March 17th would land in Holy Week.

In Chicago, Illinois, they famously dye the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river, turning it green for a week. Today, the river is dyed green for only a few hours. Thousands of people line the banks of the river and watc as a boat releases dye into the river and turns the river a green color. Anyone of Irish heritage residing in the city as a whole are known as the "Chirish," (a combination "Chicago" and "Irish.").
The South Side Parade is a more traditional alternative Irish celebration. South side citizens of Irish heritage are known as the "South Side Irish,". They have historically had a major political influence in the political and economic scene of the city. The committe announced it would be suspended in 2010 because it had grown too large for the community, but It returned in 2012.

In Holyoke, Massachusetts, which is a factory town with a large Irish immigration in the 19th Century, the second largest Parade in the United States occurs. It is held on the Sunday after St. Patrick's Day. It includes 25,000 marchers, 300,000 attendees over a 2.3 mile route. The parade and award ceremony is a heafty draw for this city of only 40,000.

The Sunday After St. Patricks Day is on...
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In Pearl River, New York, the second largest parade in New York state has been attracting crowds of 100,000 people since 1963.

In Buffalo, New York there are two parades. The first is the "Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade" (since 1943) on the Sunday closest to St. Patrick's Day. That parade runs from Niagara Square down Delaware Avenue to North Street. It is the 3rd largest parade in New York State behind the New York City Parade and the Pearl River Parade.

The Sunday Closest to St. Patrick's Day is on..
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The other is the "Old Neighborhood Parade," (since 1994) in the city's historic Old First Ward in South Buffalo on the Saturday closest to Saint Patrick's Day.

The Saturday Closest to St. Patrick's Day is on..
March 16th, 2013
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In Syracuse, New York,  the largest Saint Patrick's Day celebration per-capita in the United States features the annual Syracuse Saint Patrick's Parade with more than 100,000 visitors to downtown, as well as 5,000 to 6,000 marchers..  The Saint Patrick's celebrations are traditionally begun with the delivery of green beer to Coleman's Irish Pub on the last Sunday of February. Coleman's is located in the Tipperary Hill section of the city, home of the world famous "Green-on-Top" Traffic Light, historically the Irish section in Syracuse. At midnight a Shamrock is painted under the Green-Over-Red traffic light.

The Last Sunday in February is on...
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In Hoboken, New Jersey an annual St. Patrick's Day parade has been held since 1986. The parade takes place at 1 pm and marches down Washington Street from 14th Street to 1st Street. To cut down on public drunkeness the city has issued a zero tolerance policy for crime related to drinking.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, The Saint Patrick's Day festivities include one of the oldest and most popular parades in the United States. Since 1862 the Parade has been organized by the St. Patrick's Day Parade Association of Lackawanna County. The parade route begins on Wyoming Ave,  up to Penn Ave, and then Lackawanna Ave, then back down over Jefferson Ave to Washington Ave. It is the third largest Saint Patrick's Day Parade in the United States with over 150,000 people attendeding.

In Savannah, Georgia, the St. Patrick's Day Parade and celebration brings an attendance of around 400,000 to watch the parade travel through Savannah's Historic District. Every year there is the "dyeing of the fountains" which happens several days before the parade.  The first St. Patrick's Day procession was held in 1824, organised by the Hibernian Society, although there is evidence that the first St. Patrick's Day parade in Savannah was held on March 17th, 1813 by a private group known as the "Fencibles".

In Tallahassee, Florida, the St. Patrick's Day event in Tallahassee has been hosted by The Tallahassee Irish Society since 1999. The first annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Tallahassee and Downtown Get Down began in 2010  along Adams Street.

In Hot Springs, Arkansas, the parade is claimed to be as the "World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade". The parade, which draws thousands of people each year, takes place on the 98-foot-long Bridge Street, "The Shortest Street in the World" (according to Ripley’s Believe It or Not c. 1940s), in downtown Hot Springs.

In Rolla, Missouri, the Missouri University of Science & Technology (formerly known as University of Missouri-Rolla, and Missouri School of Mines), an engineering college, Saint Patrick is celebrated as the patron saint of engineers. The "Best Ever" St. Patrick's Celebrations start ten days before Saint Patrick's Day on March 7th. A downtown parade is held the Saturday before Saint Patrick's Day. A royal court is crowned, and the streets in the city's downtown area are painted green.  In 2008, Rolla celebrated its "100th Annual Best Ever St. Patrick's Day 2008" celebration.

The Saturday Before St. Patrick's Day is on..
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In Maryville, Missouri, home of Northwest Missouri State University, an annual parade sponsored by The Palms Bar and Grill also claims to be the shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade.  The claim is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records. It runs approximately 1/2 of a block.

In New Orleans, Louisiana there is the largest port of entry for Irish immigrants in the Southern USA. New Orleans still maintains a sizeable Irish heritage and population. Saint Patrick's Day traditions have been observed since since 1809.  include a Saint Patrick's Day parade on lower Magazine Street, The Irish Channel Parade in the Bywater neighbourhood, multiple parades in the French Quarter, an Irish-Italian combination Parade celebrating both Saint Patrick's Day and Saint Joseph's Day, and multiple block parties throughout the city. The Parades in New Orleans have a Mardi Gras flavor. Many of the same floats are from Carnival.  Beads, Trinkets, Irish stew ingredients are thrown to those along the parade route. Surrounding celebrations include parades in Metairie, Slidell, and an Irish Italian Isleño Parade in Chalmette.

In Dallas, Texas, a Run, parade, and after party have been held on Lower Greenville Avenue since 1981. The parade is held the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day with thousands of spectators and partiers lining the streets. It is the biggest St. Patrick's Day parade and festival in the Southwest.

The Saturday Before St. Patrick's Day is on..
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In Butte, Montana, the mining history brought a large population of Irish immigrants. Butte has a long history of running a parade and concerts in the uptown area since 1882. Attendees come from all over the world to celebrate and double the size of the city. The city still has an open container policy but has made efforts to curb rowdy behavior.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, The Southern Nevada (formerly Las Vegas) Sons of Erin have put on a parade since 1966. It was once held on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, and later held on 4th street. Since 2005, the parade has been held in downtown Henderson. It is one of the biggest parades in the state of Nevada. It also consists of a three day festival, carnival and classic car show in Old Town Henderson.

In San Diego, California, the St. Patrick's Day Parade is known as "the largest Parade west of the Mississippi" by its host organisation, the Irish Congress of Southern California (ICSC).  The Parade and Festival are one of the largest events in San Diego with more than 150 entries and an attendence of over 30,000. The Irish Festival occurs in Balboa Park on the north side of downtown San Diego.

In San Francisco, California, there has been a St. Patrick's Day celebration in San Francisco since 1852. San Francisco has always had a large Irish American population and for many decades Irish Americans were the largest ethnic group in San Francisco. However, now the largest ethnic group in San Francisco is Chinese Americans as most of the Irish Americans have moved to the suburban parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. On St. Patrick's Day, the Irish from all over the San Francisco Bay Area come into San Francisco to march in or to see the parade march down Market Street. People from all ethnic groups wear green and become Irish for a day.  In San Francisco, the parade is always held on the Sunday before March 17th.

The Sunday Before St. Patrick's Day is on..
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In Seattle, Washington, the Festál Irish is a week long celebration organised by the city's Irish Heritage Club starting March 10th culminating with the Seattle Washington's Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Seattle's Saint Patrick's Day Celebration is the largest and oldest in the Northwestern United States with 20,000 spectators and groups, and many visiting clebraties.  The celebration includes the annual Society of the Friends of St. Patrick Dinner with the passing of the Irish Shillelagh, an Irish Soda Bread Baking Contest, a Mass for Peace, step dancing, food, historical and modern exhibitions, Irish lessons, and the annual "Laying 'O the Green" where Irish revellers mark the path of the next morning's procession with a mile-long green stripe, Finally the parade travels a 1-mile route through the city's downtown financial and retail core on the Saturday before Saint Patrick's Day. There is also another Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Spokane, Washington.

St. Patrick Parades and celebrations also occur in...

In Boston, Massachusetts since 1804.
In Carbondale, Pennsylvania since 1833.
In Cincinnati, Ohio since 1967.
In Cleveland, Ohio since 1867.
In Grand Ledge, Michigan since 2008.
In Kansas City, Missouri since 1873.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin since 1843.
In Morristown, New Jersey since 1780.
In New Haven, Connecticut since 1842.
In Norfolk, Virginia since 1968.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 1771.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania since 1869.
In San Francisco, California since 1852.
In Savannah, Georgia since 1824.
In Scranton, Pennsylvania since 1862.
In St. Louis, Missouri since 1968.
In St. Paul, Minnesota since 1851.
In Wappingers Falls, New York.


In Buenos Aires, Argentina,  there is the fifth largest population of Irish in the world outside Ireland. All-night parties are celebrated in designated streets where there are several Irish pubs, especially in the downtown street of Reconquista. About 50,000 people dance and drink beer throughout the night, until mid-morning.  The gatherings, which occur in other areas of Argentina as well, are not formally organized by the Irish community or the Catholic Church.


In Montreal, Canada, the city flag has a shamrock as one of the four blocks to represent the large Irish community. The City boasts one of the longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parades in North America since 1824.

In Quebec City, Canada, the Quebec St-Patrick Parade was held from 1837 to 1926.  After an absence of more than 84 years, it returned in 2010.

In Toronto, Canada, there is a parade in the city's downtown that attracts over 100,000 spectators. The Maple Leafs hockey team was known as the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927, and wore green jerseys. In 1999, when the Maple Leafs played on "Hockey Night in Canada" on Saint Patrick's Day, they wore the retro green St. Patrick's day uniforms.

In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Saint Patrick's Day is a provincial holiday (the only are of canada where it is).


In Birmingham, England, the largest Saint Patrick's Day parade in Britain is held with a two mile (3 km) route through the city centre. The organisers claim it is the third biggest parade in the world after Dublin and New York.

In London, England, the annual Saint Patrick's Day parade takes place on weekend around the 17th, usually in Trafalgar Square since 2002. The water in the Trafalgar Square fountains was dyed green in In 2008. Queen Elizabeth used to present bowls of shamrock flown over from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards, a regiment in the British Army consisting primarily of soldiers from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Guards still wear shamrock flown in from Ireland on this day.
Horse racing at the Cheltenham Festival attracts large numbers of Irish people, both residents of Britain and many who travel from Ireland, and usually coincides with Saint Patrick's Day.

The Weekend closest to St. Patrick's Day is on..
March 16th and March 17th, 2013
March 15th and March 16th, 2014
March 14th and March 15th, 2015
March 19th and March 20th, 2016
March 18th and March 19th, 2017
March 17th and March 18th, 2018
March 16th and March 17th, 2019
March 14th and March 15th, 2020
March 13th and March 14th, 2021

In Liverpool, England, the highest proportion of residents of Irish ancestry in England live. The celebration on St Patrick's Day includes music, cultural events and the St. Patrick's Day parade.

In Manchester, England, a two-week Irish festival is held in the weeks prior to St Patrick's Day. including an Irish Market, a large parade, and a large number of cultural and learning events.


In Coatbridge, Scotland, the majority of the town's population is of Irish descent. The St. Patrick's Day Festival includes celebrations and parades in the town centre.

In Glasgow, Scotland, there is a considerably large Irish population. Many Irish pubs and Irish interest groups run annual celebrations on St Patrick's day including an annual Saint Patrick's Day parade since 2007.


In Montserrat, the carribean island nation, is the only place in the world apart from Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador where St Patrick's Day is a public holiday. Infact it is the National Day of Montserrat.  The holiday also commemorates a failed slave uprising that occurred on March 17th, 1768. Montserrat is known as the "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" because of its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis.


In Japan, Saint Patrick's Day celebrations occur throught the month of March.  Parades are held in at least nine locations across Japan. The first parade, in Tokyo, was organised by The Irish Network Japan (IN) in 1992.

Australia and New Zealand

In Australia and New Zealand, Saint Patrick's Day is observed as a day to celebrate links to Ireland and Irish heritage.  Many Irish people emigrated to, or were brought as convicts during the 19th century.  Green clothing are traditionally worn and the streets are often filled with revellers drinking and partying from early afternoon throughout the night.


In Seoul, South Korea, the Irish Association of Korea has celebrated Saint Patrick's Day since 2001.


Famous Quotes 

"Ireland, thou friend of my country in my country's most friendless days, much injured, much enduring land, accept this poor tribute from one who esteems thy worth, and mourns thy desolation."
- George Washington, speaking of Ireland's support for America during the revolution.

"It is a curious contradiction, not very often remembered in England, that for many generations the private soldiers of the British Army were largely Irish."
- Cecil Woodham-Smith

"This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever."
- Sigmund Freud (about the Irish)


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