Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The Irish Society of Boston organized what was the first Saint Patrick's Day Parade in the colonies on 17 March 1737. The first celebration of Saint Patrick's Day in New York City was held at the Crown and Thistle Tavern in 1756, and New York's first Saint Patrick's Day Parade was held on 17 March 1762 by Irish soldiers in the British Army. In 1780, General George Washington, who commanded soldiers of Irish descent in the Continental Army, allowed his troops a holiday on 17 March “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence." This event became known as The St. Patrick's Day Encampment of 1780. Today, Saint Patrick's Day is widely celebrated in America by Irish and non-Irish alike.

Americans celebrate the holiday by wearing green clothing. Many people, regardless of ethnic background, wear green-coloured clothing and items. Traditionally, those who are caught not wearing green are pinched.

Some cities paint the traffic stripe of their parade routes green. Chicago dyes its river green and has done so since 1961 when sewer workers used green dye to check for sewer discharges and got the idea to turn the river green for St. Patrick's Day. Indianapolis also dyes its main canal green. Savannah dyes its downtown city fountains green. Missouri University of Science and Technology - St Pat's Board Alumni paint 12 city blocks kelly green with mops before the annual parade. In Jamestown, New York, the Chadakoin River (a small tributary that connects Conewango Creek with its source at Chautauqua Lake) is dyed green each year.

The longest-running Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in the U.S. are:

* Boston, Massachusetts, since 1737
* New York City, since 1762 (247th Consecutive Parade in 2008)
* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 1771
* Morristown, New Jersey, since 1780
* New Orleans, Louisiana, since 1809
* Buffalo, New York, since 1811
* Savannah, Georgia, since 1813
* Carbondale, Pennsylvania, since 1833
* Milwaukee, Wisconsin, since 1843
* Chicago, Illinois, since 1843
* New Haven, Connecticut, since 1845
* Saint Paul, Minnesota, since 1851[35]
* San Francisco, California, since 1852
* Scranton, Pennsylvania, since 1862
* Cleveland, Ohio, since 1867
* Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, since 1869[36]
* Kansas City, Missouri, since 1873
* Butte, Montana, since 1882

Picture: Irish flag flies below Old Glory- Hoboken City Hall, 2009

No comments: