St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ireland
It’s that time of year to celebrate all things green! Here are some fun facts about the holiday that so many of us look forward to celebrating everywhere.
First, a not-so-fun fact: The Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The first St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in 1903. That same year, the week of St Patrick’s Day was declared Irish Language Week by the Gaelic League.
On St Patrick’s Day 1916, the Irish Volunteers held parades throughout Ireland. There were over 38 St Patrick’s Day parades recorded that year, involving 6,000 marchers, almost half of who were armed.
First came the day, then in 1996 came the first St Patrick’s Festival. In 1997, it soon became a three-day event; in 2000, it became a four-day event. By 2006, the festival had expanded to five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. That same year the five-day festival saw one million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks. The Skyfest, which ran from 2006 to 2012, formed the centerpiece of the St Patrick’s festival in Ireland.
Since the inception of the festival in 1996, organizers have placed a much greater emphasis on celebrating and projecting a fluid and inclusive notion of “Irishness,” instead of an identity based around religious traditions.
In Ireland, the week of St Patrick’s Day involves Irish language speakers using more Irish during Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Irish Language Week”). But, of course, festival-goers can find beer, cabbage, corned beef, and more Irish traditional foods to enjoy.
Have you visited Ireland during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities? We would love to hear all about it!