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Today, March 17, 2017, is St. Patricks Day.

If you didnt wear green, you might get


pinched! Oddly enough, this quirky tradition didnt start in Ireland. It started in
America, as well as the first St. Patricks Day parade! Globally, there are numerous
holidays that different cultures take part in for religious reasons but what makes St
Patricks Day different is that it has been adopted by other countries to celebrate
Irish heritage, so goes the saying, Everybody wants to be Irish on St. Patricks
Day. Along with Americas pinching tradition and parades, other countries have
festivities to honor the patron saint of Ireland as well as painting the town green.

Saint Patrick

St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain around 400 A.D. At age 16, he was abducted
and sold into slavery by pirates, and eventually came to Ireland. He escaped slavery
only to return to Ireland to spread his faith, Irish pagan beliefs mixed with
Christianity. This led him to design the Celtic cross as well as using a shamrock to
explain the Holy Trinity. Though little is known about him, Patrick was believed to
have died on March 17th, thus the day is in honor of him and his actions.

While March 17 is filled with green, St. Patrick actually wore blue. The green comes
from the shamrock that has become associated with Patrick and because, when the
Great Potato Famine hit, people resorted to eating grass and would have green
stains around their mouths.

America

In March 17, 1762, a parade was held in New York to welcome the British Army.
Since most of the soldiers were Irish, Irish-Americans had a chance to reconnect
with their heritage along with enjoying many festivities. This began the tradition of
celebrating St. Patricks Day in the US.

While living in America, the Irish did not have the same options of merchandise in
stores as in Ireland. Due to this, the traditional Irish meal of corned beef and
cabbage was born. Since life in America can be difficult for any new foreigner, many
of the Irish were poor. With lack of funds, beef was a cheaper choice of meat and
cabbage was chosen because it is a spring vegetable.

Interestingly enough, alcohol wasnt included in the celebration until after the
1970s in Ireland, but in America, copious amounts were drunk.

Today, America is home to the Worlds Shortest Parade for St. Patricks Day, located
in Hot Springs, Arkansas and to New Orleans vegetable food fight. In the past, the
wealthy people of New Orleans would sit on floats and throw food to the poor, such
as: cabbages, carrots, potatoes, onions, and also Moonpies. Eventually, this tradition
changed into a veggie free-for-all.

United Kingdom
Manchester dedicates two weeks to Saint Patrick; the weeks are filled with an Irish
market at the citys town hall, and a number of cultural and learning events. The
city claims to have the largest parade outside of Dublin and New York, centering on
the largest Irish communities.

Monserrat

Monserrat, the Emerald Island of the Caribbean, was founded by Irish refugees.
On this island, St. Patricks Day is a public holiday, commemorating a failed slaves
uprising on March 17, 1798. What began as an exile for the Irish became a new
culture and a new home. Living on an island with enslaved workers from sugar
plantations, the Irish heritage changed to become an Afro-Irish heritage. The 5000
people celebrate March 17 for a week, one of the islands most popular annual
events. During this time, activities are offered such as the freedom run from Cudjoe
Head to Salem Park, a nature hike, and a junior calypso competition. Much of the
activities are held at the center of a reconstructed slave village.

Russia

On March 15, 1992, the first St. Paddys Parade was held, thanks to Derek Keogh.
Russian marching bands, Cossack horsemen, and floats were escorted by police,
though the parade was successful. This paved the way for an annual parade. In
2000, after the economic collapse of 1998, the St. Patricks Society of Russia were
able to re-establish the parade with cooperation from the Moscow city government,
police, various other government groups, the Irish embassy, as well as the Irish
community in Moscow. In present day, St. Patricks is a day filled with a grand
parade, green shamrocks, bagpipes, and Irish drinks.

Argentina

In Argentina, the weather in March tends to be comfortably warm thus, with the
millions of Irish-Argentine descendants, its the perfect time to party! For St.
Patricks Day, all-night long parties and copious amounts of drinks can be found on
designated streets. Dancing and drinking beer until the following morning is
tradition, as well as wearing green though there is no punishment if one does not. In
Buenos Aires, these customs can also be seen. People will dance and drink until
morning but the real party is held on Reconquista Street, where Irish pubs are
mainly found. The main event is usually the parade that occurs through the Plaza
San Martin, followed by music and dance performances.

Are you ready for St. Patricks Day?