Begorrah to be sure, it’s St. Paddy’s Day again
The waters of the Chicago River are dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day (2005)
[Is anyone able to confirm if this tradition is still being followed in Chi-Town?]
St. Patrick’s Day
Named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland. It is observed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutherans.
Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day in the early 17th century, but has gradually become more of a secular celebration of Irish culture.
Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others.
The Wearing of the Green
Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century.
He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, in hopes of making a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention.
The phrase “the wearing of the green”, meaning to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing, derives from a song of the same name.
St. Patrick’s Day Parades
Amongst the Irish diaspora across the world, perhaps none are as proud of their heritage and Irish roots as those in the United States. One way of marking the influence and importance of Irish settlers and immigrants in the US is illustrated above, in the picture of the Chicago River which is dyed green each year. Another significant tradition is the annual St. Patrick’s Day parades that are held each year in a number of major US cities.
By far the biggest of these parades is the annual New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In fact, it both the largest global parade and also the oldest civilian public parade in the world.
First conducted in 1762, the parade in a typical year can nowadays see 150,000 marchers participate in it. The marchers include bands, fire-fighters, military and police groups, county associations, emigrant societies, and social and cultural clubs. An estimated 2 million spectators line the parade route which follows a 1.5 mile path along 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The five hour procession is always led by the U.S. 69th Infantry Regiment.
Info & Pic Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick’s_Day