Set your calendar reminder and keep the green-colored outfits ready this March as we bring you all you need to know about the St. Patricks Day Parade!
A day dedicated to honoring the life and legacy of Saint Patrick! Here’s the complete guide about the history, cultural impact, heritage, and influence of this feast.
The Origin of St. Patricks Day
Annually on March 17th, people around the globe celebrate St. Patricks Day! The events of the celebrations vary depending on where you are but are all lively nonetheless. There’s traditional music, dance, food, desserts, beverages (Guinness beer), and green costumes. The pompous celebration is completed by a lively marching band parade.
As the legend goes, St. Patrick was responsible for driving snakes out of the Irish villages. This gave an inadequate description of him using his staff and ‘parading’ snakes down a cliff by the sea. The tale has been later interpreted as him pushing out pagan beliefs in Ireland while introducing Christianity. Beginning as a ‘feast day’, the celebration has grown into one of the most popular holidays.
As the influence of the Irish community grew in many countries, so did their culture and traditions. According to media company Irish Central, the first parade was organized in the year 1601, when residents paraded through the streets in honor of their guardian, Saint Patrick. The information of the origin was brought to light in December 2017 by historian Dr. J. Michael Francis.
In the Encyclopedia Britannica, it is mentioned that the city of Boston, largely populated by Irish immigrants in America, held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737.
Pomp and Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day!
The parades would march down the streets post a celebration in the Church. It would consist of different kinds of marching bands, pipe bands including those from universities, and bagpipers. Ranking officials, city officers, former servicemen and women, and individuals in holding office would be part of this procession.
The celebrations will have people donning the traditional green-colored costumes, sporting green hats, suits, outfits, and the traditional shamrock along with other green accessories. A continuous chorus of music, ballads, and dance from Irish culture are on display throughout the day.
In the parade and on the streets, participants are dressed as beings from traditional Irish folklore, the most popular being fairies and leprechauns. Leprechauns are said to be small mischievous men, wearing a green coat and top hat possessing a pot of gold. While faires are said to grant wishes if you are kind to them. As the story goes, they are said to be one of the first inhabitants of Ireland.
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The St. Patricks Day parade is celebrated in multiple cities that have Irish influence in their roots. It takes place on March 17, the death anniversary of St.Patrick. This day is typically seen as a ‘break’ in the Lenten season of fasting and mourning, where one can indulge in merriment.
In Dublin, Ireland, the festival is planned for the first time since 2019 and it will be a five-day celebration. As per the official website, the theme this year is ‘Connections’. It will be a celebration of Irish arts, culture, and heritage. Several different activities will be on display, including live musical performances, a narration of Celtic tales, activities for children, and much more. There will also be a recreational site to showcase food and beverage, arts and crafts.
Boston, arguably one cities with the highest Irish population, will see the return of its beloved parade scheduled on Sunday, March 20, 2022. The parade will see a green wave of marching bands, elaborate floats, dancers and performers march down Broadway street. Along with the traditional attire, meals, and drinks that go on through the day, a notable activity here is a walk along the city’s Irish heritage trail. This walk traces back the footsteps of the early Irish immigrants into America.It also follows the route to twenty other important landmarks in the city.
A Global Phenomenon
Despite having its roots in Ireland, the St. Patricks Day parade is celebrated by many residing far from the coasts of Ireland. Since the 1800s, large communities in Ireland left for pastures anew in search of a more profitable livelihood. This ‘Irish Diaspora’ has led to many Irish communities being established all over the world.
As reported by the BBC UK, “It’s estimated seventy million people worldwide have Irish ancestry – just 6.5 million of them live in Ireland”. Leaving their land but not traditions, the St.Particks feast has been recognized and celebrated across multiple nations with a mix of Irish and local traditions.
In 2018, in New Zealand, the parade celebrations witnessed a unique melange of Irish-Indian-NZ traditions, as reported on 1 News Network. Residents wanted to signify the message of unity being ‘we are one’. This was seen by bringing the green color from the ‘Holi’ Indian festival, and a mash-up of a traditional Irish jig folk and Indian classical dance. A similar blend of culture can be seen by ‘Shamrock Bhangra’ – A group of ‘Bhangra’ dancers in based Ireland performing the traditional Punjabi dance with an Irish twist.
The parade is a global celebration carried out in many nations, including Japan, Argentina, Malta, Mexico, and Singapore. Officially, the Saint Partick still remains to be canonized by the Catholic church.
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Feature Image Via Freepik.