St Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday celebrated by the Irish for over the last 1,000 years. Saint Patrick’s life is explained with the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This legend is often depicted using a shamrock – the Irish Clover. The shamrock is the national flower of Ireland. March 17th is stated to be the day that Patrick passed. The day falls within the Christian season of Lent, but on this day, all restrictions against meat are waived. People traditionally consumed a meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. Most people associate the color green with St. Patty’s day, but FUN FACT: light blue was the original celebratory color.
What is the history of the Leprechaun? The Irish name “lobaircin” means “small-bodied fellow.” According to old folklords, tiny men and women – fairies – had magical powers to serve good and evil. The leprechauns fix the shoes of the fairies and they are also famously known for their trickery.
The holiday was brought to the United States by way of emigrants. Yet, the first parade was not in Ireland, the first St. Patty’s Day parade took place in the United States. Many people know NYC as the main hub for emigration per Ellis Island. However, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in Boston, MA in 1737. NYC held its first parade 25 years later in 1762. In 1845, the Great Potato Famine struck Ireland, at which 1 million Irish fled to the U.S. The Irish encountered discrimination when they first came to the states. Once referred to as non-whites, the Irish soon gathered a political-collective. This collective was referred to as the “green machine.”
Present day, some of the largest parades to date are held within Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Savannah. The city of Chicago continues to color its river green (est. 1962) and we often eat a meal of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots! This year, we will be celebrating the day in Newport, RI with our 64th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.