St. Patrick's Day is held annually on March 17th to honor the traditional death of Saint Patrick and celebrate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. This celebration spread to the United States (among other countries) around the 1700s as more and more Irish immigrants were coming to America. On March 17, many Irish Americans took to the streets in St. Patrick's Day parades to show their Irish patriotism.
In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated as a religious holiday. However, in the United States, it has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, feasts, parties, drinking, and wearing lots and lots of green.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are a few interesting facts about the holiday that you might not have known!
Perhaps the most notable symbol we see that represents St. Patrick's Day is the shamrock. The shamrock has been associated with Ireland for centuries and has become a national symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. The shamrock is actually considered to be sacred as it symbolizes the arrival of spring.
2. The Color Green
Originally, St. Patrick's color was blue, not green. The color green became associated with St. Patrick's Day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
3. The First Parade
St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in Ireland since the 1600s. However, the tradition of a St. Patrick's Day parade began in America. The first parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony and what is now St. Augustine, Florida.
4. The Chicago River
The Chicago River is dyed green each year in honor of the holiday. The dying of the Chicago River is considered to be one of the most iconic St. Patrick's Day traditions. For nearly six decades, thousands of people flock to the banks of the Chicago River to watch it turn green. The event is usually scheduled for the Saturday before March 17.
5. The New York City Parade
The New York City St. Patrick's Day parade is one of the largest in the world. This parade began in 1762 and is one of New York City's greatest traditions. Approximately 150,000 people march in the parade, and it draws about 2 million spectators. The event is run entirely by volunteers.
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