Happy St.Patrick’s Day!
HAPPY ST.PATRICK’S DAY!
It is estimated that one fifth of all Canadians are of Irish heritage!
Over the next thirty-five years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called “Irish Aid” societies, like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.
In 1848, several New York Irish aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world ‘s oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants.
St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador on the nearest Monday to March 17 each year. In some cities, notably Toronto and Montreal, large scale St Patrick’s Day parades are held, often on the Sunday closest to March 17. The parade in Montreal has been held every year since 1824. . In some places there are Irish cultural events. For instance, the Irish Association of Manitoba organizes a three-day festival of Irish culture in the week of St Patrick’s Day.
Who was St.Patrick?
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.
It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family.
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God’s-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary.
Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs.
The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.
But the Biggest Celebration is in the U.S.!
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762.
The New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade marches up 5th Avenue from 44th street to 86th street. In 2009 the parade will be on Tuesday, March 17, and will begin at 11 a.m. Over 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades take place around the United States, but the parades in New York City and Boston are the largest. The New York St. Patrick’s Day parade does not allow automobiles or floats, but over 150,000 marchers participate in the parade.
Population Distribution of Irish Americans:
There are three states in which Irish is the leading ancestry group: Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Irish is among the top five ancestries in every state but two (Hawaii and New Mexico).
There are 54 counties where Irish is the largest observed ancestry group. Forty-four of these counties are in the Northeast, with 14 in New York, 11 in Massachusetts and five in New Jersey.
A total of 4.8 million immigrants from Ireland have been admitted to the U.S. for lawful permanent residence since fiscal year 1820, the earliest year for which official immigration records exist.