The U.S. Census Bureau computes that only 11.2% percent of United States residents are of Irish decent. But you would not know that every March 17. As the saying goes, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.
Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day in America has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the president issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year. March 17 is still primarily a religious holiday in Ireland.
Many Americans will eat corned beef and cabbage, a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish, on or around St. Patrick’s Day. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that 26.4 billion pounds of beef and 2.3 billion pounds of cabbage were produced in 2010.
A total of 34.7 million U.S. residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2010. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.58 million). Irish was the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.
Sixteen municipalities in the United States share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. Seven U.S. municipalities are named Shamrock, for the floral emblem of Ireland.
If you’re still not into the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., or Irishtown Township in Clinton County, IL.
So, where can one find the best places to celebrate St. Patty’s Day? Shindigz, a national party goods supply company, rated what it calls the top seven U.S. cities for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
When it comes to celebrating the greenest of holidays, there’s more to the party than just green beer and baked potatoes, Shindigz said. Several cities have Irish populations, parades, and nightlife made up of genuine Irish pubs, clubs and bars. Taking these factors into consideration, Shindigz rated Chicago No. 3, commenting:
While others may put Chicago a bit higher on their list, Shindigz attributes its No. 3 spot to the fact that just 6.6% of the city’s population is of Irish decent. However, the diverse population provides for two parades to choose from for the citywide celebration. The parade on Columbus Drive usually draws in the biggest crowd with 350,000 while the returning South Side Irish Parade is more of a community event with approximately 300,000.
Shindigz calls the dyeing of the Chicago River green the most exciting part of the Chicago festivities. This year will mark the 50th time that the river will be dyed before the city’s parade begins.
Other cities on Shindigz’ list are: 1. Boston; 2. Savannah, GA; 4. New York City; 5. Philadelphia; 6. St. Louis and 7. Kansas City, Kansas.