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Everything you need to know about St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patricks Day Parade

Here’s a look at what you need to know about St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated March 17th of every year.

  • St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

  • Corned beef and cabbage is a staple at St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

  • Saint Patrick is called a Christian missionary and the Apostle of Ireland.

    • Patron saints are chosen to protect the interests of a country, place, group, trade or profession, or activity, and to intercede for them in heaven.
    • St. Patrick is responsible for converting the people of Ireland to Christianity.
    • 385 A.D – Born in Britain, but is not Irish.
    • At sixteen, he was brought to Ireland as a slave.
    • He escaped six years later and became a priest.
    • Following a vision, he returned to Ireland to Christianize the Irish people.
    • He is credited with having driven the snakes out of Ireland. However, most biologists maintain there never were snakes in Ireland.
    • March 17, 461 A.D – St. Patrick dies.
  • In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday with banks, stores, and businesses closing for the day.

    • It has primarily been celebrated as a religious holiday.
  • USA: 1737 – The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States is held in Boston.

    • According to the U.S. Census, 33.1 million U.S. residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2014. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland (4.6 million).
    • In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is primarily a secular holiday.
    • Hartford is celebrating with their 45th annual parade on Saturday, March 12, with live coverage on FOX 61 at 11:30 a.m.
    • New Haven is celebrating with their annual parade on Sunday, March 13, with live coverage on WCCT at 2 p.m.
  • New York City Celebration: March 17, 1762 – The first official parade in New York City is held.

    • March 17, 2011 – The 250th New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held.
    • The parade is held on March 17, unless March 17 falls on a Sunday. When this happens, the parade is held on Saturday the 16th.
    • The parade marches up 5th Avenue, from 44th to 79th streets. It is the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade with more than 150,000 people marching each year.
    • September 4, 2014 – The organizers of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade announce the first ever LGBT group to march in 2015 under their banner. It represents an end to a ban on openly gay groups in the parade.
  • Chicago Celebration: March 12, 1955 – The first St. Patrick’s Day parade is held.

    • If the 17th falls on a weekday, the parade is held the Saturday before.
    • The Chicago River is dyed green, with a secret recipe, and the parade begins at noon at the corner of Balbo and Columbus Drive.
  • Shamrock: Legend has it St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity, by showing an unbeliever the three-leafed plant with one stalk.

    • Shamrocks are the national flower/emblem of Ireland.
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