“Wearing of the Green”
22 March, 2012
“Wearing of the Green”

If there is a major holiday you can think of in the United States, you’re sure to catch a glimpse of a beautiful parade dedicated to that special day. Whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, there is a parade that will leave you awestruck any season of the year. Although St. Patrick’s Day is not a legal holiday in the U.S, it is nevertheless recognized and celebrated throughout the country.

 

Not much is known about St. Patrick’s early life, but

one of the versions suggests (which most Irish tend to reject) that he was born in a wealthy British family. At sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. According to St. Patrick, he was told by God in a dream to escape captivity, board a ship and return to Britain. So, he did, and upon returning to Britain he joined the Church and studied to become a priest. He had to go back to Ireland in the later years, but as a bishop this time, in order to Christianize Ireland. His teaching methods included using a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, hereafter, (along with the color green) becoming a symbol of St. Patrick. After nearly thirty years of preaching, he died on March 17th, 461. He is endured as the principal defender of Irish Christianity and is held with honor and respect in the Irish church. St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated during the ninth and tenth centuries throughout Europe by the Irish, and in the later years became more widely known. But the first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States on March 17, 1762. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City with Irish flags and music in order to connect with their “roots”.

Since the colonization began in the U.S from the 1600’s thousands of Irish Catholics came to America and settled in cities in the North. Areas with the most significant Irish population include metropolitan cities throughout the country such as Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Today, it is estimated that twelve percent of the U.S population is of Irish descent and the diaspora is about 10 times the population of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is primarily observed in order to rejoice Irish culture.

On this day, the color green can be seen on almost every man, woman and child. The Empire State building in New York stands tall and shines in green. In Chicago, The Chicago River turns green…with vegetable dye, of course! (Don’t worry). Feasting and abundant alcohol intake is a must! Even “ketchup” on hot dogs is GREEN! The Irish flags and symbols are proudly hung everywhere, overlooking the cities. And last but not least, the parades go on and on with music, dances, huge balloons and short shows along the way, it is definitely a festival you will not want to miss. By the end of the day, chances are you’ll have a tough time standing on your own two feet, but without a doubt, it sure will make you a proud Irishman even if just for a day. So, the next time you’re in the U.S and decide to skip St. Patrick’s Day, think of all the fun (and green) you’re missing out on.

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