Readers and St Patrick’s revellers, prepare yourself for a shock: Ireland was not actually the first place to host a St Patrick’s Day parade. We have the wonderful city of Boston, Massachusetts, to thank for starting that, now legendary, tradition. It was back in 1737 when a group of homesick Irish immigrants marched through the city to display their pride in their green roots.
That makes over 250 years that Boston, and many other North American cities have had a St Patrick’s celebration of Irish culture, heritage and fun. It’s not that we don’t still reckon Ireland does it best (that’s why we’ll be blogging live from Dublin’s St Patrick Festival on Thursday), but we have to tip our hat to some of the great example of St Patrick’s cheer that goes on around the world.
The New York City parade for example, will consist of a thundering 250,000 marchers all tooting horns, banging drums and basically bringing the noise along the spine of Manhattan. Members of the Irish police force, American military and all manner of marching bands are involved, but no vehicles. Green is the only colour to be seen, with the lights of the Empire State Building, bagels and beers all turning a shamrock shade.
That’s not a patch on Chicago who turns an entire river green! The city has not one but two St Patrick’s parades, with Saturday’s South Columbus Street packing tassels, tubas and tickertape, while Sunday’s smaller South Side Parade is a local affair with the buzz of a rural Irish carnival. There’s no escaping the party atmosphere in Chicago’s pubs and clubs, when being Irish is ‘like being famous’ according to one delighted Irish ex-pat!
The fun reaches right beyond our American neighbours though! The fact that Auckland, New Zealand, a city almost 20,000 miles away, will be celebrating St Patrick shows just how far the craic has spread. That ‘craic’ goes from Gaelic Football Tournaments to Samuel Beckett plays – not in the same place we presume!
Back in the U.S of A the good people who have organized the New Orleans celebrations suggest that those attending wear ‘anything green’ or indeed ‘Leprechaun attire’. That pretty much tells us everything we need to know about the big day down in The Big Easy. It might also help to know that the parade involves various ‘pit-stops’ along the route. We’re not exactly sure what ‘pit-stop’ refers to but we’re guessing it may involve the odd pint of green Guinness.
Should Guinness be your preferred tipple Budapest may be the spot for you as some pubs are offering free pints for those lucky souls named Patrick (you might need I.D for confirmation though!).
Along with all of those wonderfully noisy and unique parades there will be hundreds and thousands of pubs and houses across the world toasting dear old St Patrick in their own way. Because you see, March 17th doesn’t just belong to Ireland – it belongs to us all.
Don’t forget our adventurous blogger Orla will be blogging live from the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin City! She’ll begin at 1pm GMT on the 17th of March with photos, clips and stories from right inside the action! Bookmark the page now!
As you’d expect, there’s tons going on around the island in celebration of St Patrick’s Day. We’ve put together this guide for all the St Patrick’s Festivals and events in Ireland.
Interested to know who St Patrick actually was? We’ve recreated the St Patrick story with his myths and legends, Hollywood style.
If you’d like to throw your own St Patrick’s Day party, we have special Irish recipes for you to try for the big day. The party doesn’t end there, we’ve also got the recipes for St Patrick’s Party drinks, from cocktails to milkshakes. If you fancy a dish that’s a little less green but just as traditionally Irish, try our Irish Stew recipe.