St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, all over the world, and has been celebrated for over 1000 years in Ireland. This holiday occurs during the season of Lent, and is a traditional “break” from Lenten fasting. Until the 1970’s Irish law decreed that pubs would be closed on the holiday, then it was decided that a rich cultural tradition like this would also promote tourism, which it does.
In the United States the biggest St Patrick’s Day parades are in New York and Boston, both home to millions of Irish immigrants, although towns all over the states celebrate with parades, and almost every country. The first St Patrick’s Day parade ever recorded was in New York City, March 17th, 1762, with Irish soldiers serving in the English military. The New York parade is now over 5 hours long along a 1.5 mile parade route, it is the oldest civilian parade in the US.
The patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, lived during the 5th century. Born in Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He eventually escaped, and years later, made his way back to Ireland, and is credited with bringing Christianity to the people of Ireland. The most well-known legend of this man is that he explained the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, using a shamrock.
In 1962 the city of Chicago started dying the Chicago River green with vegetable dye, the first time they used over 100# of dye and the river stayed green for a week! Currently they use 40# and the river is green for a few hours.
In Dublin, Ireland, St Patrick’s day festivities last several days, with fireworks, feasting, parades, outdoor theater events, concerts, and of course, dancing. On March 17th, everyone is Irish, have some corned beef, cabbage, a green beer, and enjoy!