This month’s Blog was written by one of our staff members, Terry. Since it is March, Terry thought it would be neat to write about NYC’s St Patrick’s Day parade because not only did her mom grow up in Ireland, but she herself grew up in New York!
St. Patrick’s Day is FUN! That pretty much says it all. My family and I celebrate this special holiday by wearing green, eating corned beef and cabbage, singing Irish songs, and drinking!
My mom is one of 7 kids, yet she is the only one in her family who left Ireland and came to live in the United States. She came over on a boat when she was about 19 and spent the rest of her life here; first in Brooklyn and then on Long Island, where she still currently lives.
So while growing up my siblings and I learned a lot about Irish traditions, culture, and about how much Irish people enjoy life. Since the rest of my mom’s family remained in Ireland, through the years we have had visits from them and had traditional Irish gifts (think everything shamrocks and leprechauns) sent to us on holidays, including St. Patrick’s Day!
The one thing that seems so crazy to me though, is that after growing up and living so close to the city, no one in my family has ever been to the famous St. Patrick’s Day parade held each year in Manhattan. While I currently live in Maryland, I am still hoping to go one year, but this year I thought it would be interesting to read up and share with everyone who also hasn’t been, just what it is all about. I mean I have seen the parade on TV, but I never really watched it for more than an hour each year.
Time to learn a little bit about how New Yorkers (and those who visit from other states) celebrate this “fun” Irish Day.
Here are a few things I read on line:
*New York City has a large Irish community, so there’s no wonder that one of the biggest Irish holidays—St.Patrick’s Day—is widely celebrated there. Everyone is Irish on St. Patty’s Day. And everyone turns out for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and the party that follows at the city’s pubs. The parade kicks off on 44th Street at 11am and marches up 5th Avenue to 86th street, passing St Patrick’s Cathedral along the way. Be sure to get there early for a good spot and wear something green! The parade draws about 250,000 marchers and two million spectators annually.
*The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held every year on March 17, (Except when March 17 falls on a Sunday. It is then moved to Saturday March 16 because of religious observances).
*Back in the 18th century when wearing green, speaking Irish, and singing Irish songs was banned, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was founded by a bunch of homesick Irish patriots and military members. Since then the parade has become one of New York’s favorites.
*The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade originated in 1762 and is an enduring, beloved tradition. Over 250 years since its inception, this remains a true marchers’ parade – no floats or automobiles allowed! The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade is billed as the largest and oldest parade in the Western Hemisphere and is truly a monumental spectacle.
*Floats, bagpipers, dancers, and more take to the streets in the thousands to celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland– with plenty of Irish music to set pace! The city itself erupts into celebration, with bars and pubs filled to the nines with people wearing green and orange. Whether you take to the outdoors to watch the parade or watch it from the television of a nearby bar or restaurant, you’re sure to get swept up in the high-energy of the event.
*Millions of spectators gather throughout the day to celebrate the Irish culture. Aside from the parade, several other St. Patrick’s Day events like stand-up comedy shows, dance parties, and concerts take place in the city. So don’t forget your green shirt and hat, red beard, and your beer or whiskey and join the party!
Maybe next year I will do some early planning and coordinate visiting my mom over St. Patrick’s Day, and finally witness this exciting and fun event in person. My mom is getting older but maybe I can convince her to tag along…..maybe it will help her relive a little of her Irish childhood. Erin Go Bragh mom…(Ireland Forever)!