It is that time of year again- where everyone is Irish, even if for a day. However, did you know that over 30 million Americans claim to have Irish ancestry which is more than 7 times the population of Ireland currently. With so many people claiming to be descendants from Irish immigrants, it isn't too hard to believe that the first St. Patrick's Day parade was actually held in America.
While the "First" can be argued as what technically qualified, there was no argument the first St. Patrick's Day parade happened in the US. Records go back as far as celebrating St. Patrick's parade was held on March 17, 1601 in St. Augustine, Florida. The most ironic fact, it was celebrated in a Spanish colony with Irish vicar (aka Priest of mission) Ricardo Artur. The next "First" St. Patrick's Day parade was held on March 17, 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts. Lastly, the "First" St. Patrick's Day parade (argued the technical first) was held on March 17, 1772 in New York City, New York. Homesick Irish soldiers who were serving in the British Army organized a huge parade where they marched down the streets, playing Irish music to connect with their roots and bring a bit of home to their temporary dwelling.
After the 1772 parade, the popularity of celebrating St. Patrick's Day flourished. The popularity even broke out into Irish aids societies like Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and Hibernian Society. These groups would organize annual St. Patrick Day parades with bagpipes and drums. In 1848 the Irish aids societies merged together to create the biggest and oldest civilian parades that is still celebrated in New York City. The New York City St. Patrick's Day parade is a 1.5 mile parade that last over 5 hours to watch.
Those who watch the parades usually find very creative ways to dress in green. Dressing in green was to bring a bit of the "Emerald Isle" to those who were homesick. If spectators were not wearing green, they were holding their shamrocks close to heart. Another tradition celebrating during, and after, the parade was drinking. The last drink those shamrocks that were worn, would be drowning in the bottom of the last glass.
If Irish stereotype isn't their love of green it's the drinking
they do. As a result, in America St. Patrick's Day is rated top 5 most drinking holidays in the US. And with St. Patrick's Day being on a Friday, most find this a bonus. We at An Otter Milestone want to put in a friendly reminder: If you are going to be drinking, do so responsibly. Have a sober friend to drive you or make plans to stay for the night. Not only do you want to stay safe but also preventing a horrible next day: drink plenty of water with a high alkaline level of natural minerals. Be Safe and Have Fun. Erin go bragh!