New Yorkers started their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations from yesterday, with bagpipes and parades. Although the holiday itself is actually today, many of the celebrations were scheduled for yesterday because of religious observances.
A massive parade was held in New York, led by 750 members of the New York Army National Guard. Traditionally the 1st Battalion of the 69th Infantry has been marching in the parade since 1851.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was present at the parade; also present was Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny who made a presentation to Bloomberg of a historic Irish teapot. Kenny noted at a holiday breakfast, “the Irish are found in every borough, every corner of New York. In previous generations they came heartbroken and hungry, in search of new life, new hope; today they come in search of opportunity to work in finance, fashion, film.”
The streets of New York were lined with thousands cheering on the marching bands, dance troupes and politicians as they passed. Meanwhile in Chicago, thousands gathered along the Chicago River to cheer as workers on a boat dumped dye into the water turning it a bright fluorescent green for a few hours.
Prime Minister Kenny had visited Chicago during last year’s St. Patrick Day celebrations. He is set to visit other US cities including paying a visit to U.S President Obama on Tuesday. He is set to give the President shamrocks, which is a tradition that dates to the Harry S. Truman administration. Obama is also scheduled to meet with the Protestant and Catholic leaders of Northern Ireland’s cross community government.
All over the United States revelers are spending the weekend celebrating this Irish holiday. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated yearly on March 17. It is believed to be the day that St. Patrick died. St. Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. He has been credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.