Country of the month: USA
Today is St Patrick’s Day, and this month we focus our attention on the St Paddy’s Day party animals – the United States.
St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish. He was born in Britain and according to folklore he was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of 16. Even though he was enslaved for six years, he became fascinated with Irish culture and after his escape, he always vowed to return to Ireland.
Pope Celestine I later commissioned Patrick to become an apostle for Ireland. He spread the message of Christianity all over the country. He baptised, confirmed and ordained priests and established schools and monasteries, all in less than 30 years. St Patrick’s Day is celebrated all around the world, however, no one does it quite like the USA.
Did you know: St Patrick’s Day parades actually began in America, not Ireland! The first parade dates back to 1737 in Boston.
Get your green on!
Why green? In the 17th century, shamrocks and green ribbons were worn to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint. St. Patrick also used a green shamrock to help explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Some state that St. Patrick’s colour was in fact blue, however many suggest that the colour green became widely used due to the beautiful green landscape in Ireland and it was also linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
Party in the USA: The Top 4
- The New York parade hosts more than 2 million spectators and takes place on 5th Avenue, starting from 44th Street and finishing on 79th Street. Some family friendly events include St. Patrick’s Day Open House in Midtown West, where children can create various crafts, learn to play the tin whistle and even learn to speak Gaelic. St. Patrick’s For All Parade also brings an amazing sense of unity to the neighbourhood and embraces all community groups.
- Savannah, Georgia, hosts 750,000 attendees, which is especially impressive since the city’s population reaches only 136,286. Some of the parade’s events include the greening of the fountain which is particularly exciting for the young and those still young at heart.The fountain water turns from clear to green, making St Patrick’s day a magical experience for everyone. A spectacular sight to see!
- Boston, Massachusetts, New England’s most Irish city – where it all started and is still going strong. Unfortunately, the parade is set to be shortened this year due to unstoppable snow, however, the organisers are still promising an unforgettable celebration. For a family friendly atmosphere, the JFK Library will host a performance by the Irish Balladeers. For more information on the Boston’s parade, visit http://www.southbostonparade.org/. Not in Boston on St Patrick’s day? Celebrate the Irish heritage during Boston’s annual Irish Film Festival, which runs March 19-22, 2015.
- Chicago holds one of the largest downtown parades in the country. Marching bands, bagpipes, dancers, Chicago has it all! One of the most beloved traditions, which has been taking place for 50 years, is the dyeing of the Chicago River. Surely, we don’t need to tell you the magic colour it changes to… It looks pretty amazing! For more updates on the Chicago parade, visit http://www.chicagostpatsparade.com/
Food for thought
Did you know: Brewers around the globe earn an estimated $245 million during Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations? (Not including tips!)
Food and beverage are always a top priority during these types of festivities – and St Patrick’s day is no different! If you want to try something traditional, there are plenty culinary delights to choose from: from corned beef & cabbage, bangers & mash, traditional Cornish pasty and soda bread to the Dublin coddle. Additionally, to get your sugar fix you must try the cream bundt cake and the ultimate apple cake.
As for the drinks, beer-beer-beer! Preferably Irish beer but any kind of beer is acceptable. If you want to really get in the festive spirit – try green beer or mix up a nice green cocktail. You can find some inspiration here.
- Brass Monkey in New York offers warm traditional food and over 60 different types of beer. Also, it’s one of the only bars offering original Budweiser on tap!
- For your St Patrick’s Day meal and drinks, try Barry’s Irish Pub in Savannah. This pub is appreciated among military personnel and offers great music, delicious food and spirits for every taste!
- Doyle’s Cafe in Boston has been a popular haunt on St Patrick’s Day since 1882, where famous politicians used to gather and discuss politics over a beer. Most of the traditional dishes, desserts and, of course, a wide selection of beer are served.
- Fadó in Chicago is one of the top 10 Irish Pubs in the US and worth to visit! The scenario will give you a 100 per cent Irish vibe with the interior which was shipped piece-by-piece from Ireland and put together by real Irish craftsmen.
Wherever you might end up, spending St Patrick’s day in the USA won’t leave you disappointed. Just make sure you stay safe, keep your head on your shoulders, green on your clothes and embrace the fun around you!
Happy St Patrick’s Day! Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!