While St. Patrick’s Day is renowned for celebrating Ireland, one need not be Irish to enjoy the festivities on March 17th.
In fact, St. Patrick himself was not Irish, having been born in an area of Great Britain then referred to as Roman Britain because it was still governed by the Roman Empire. St. Patrick’s birthplace is not the only interesting fact surrounding St. Patrick’s Day that might surprise even the most devoted of Patty’s Day revelers.
· Arguably the most famous St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world, the New York City parade is more than 250 years old. The Big Apple’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the British military marched through the city.
· While New York and Boston host the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States, more than 100 parades are held in honor of St. Patrick throughout the country each year. For those who love a good parade but don’t have much time on their hands, the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is home to the world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade. The parade takes place on the city’s Bridge Street, which measures just 98 feet in length.
· In spite of its proximity to New York City, the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, began hosting its own St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1986.
· The United States is not the only place to enjoy a spirited celebration of St. Patrick. Montreal, Canada, whose city flag includes a shamrock, has held an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade since 1824. Elsewhere in Canada, Toronto hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that typically attracts more than 100,000 spectators.
· Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in nearly every state in the United States. The lone exceptions are New Mexico and Hawaii. Irish leads the way in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
· While corned beef has become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States, the corned beef eaten in the United States is not the corned beef familiar to people in Ireland. That’s because the corned beef eaten in the U.S. is largely from kosher Jewish butchers, whose corned beef is made from brisket, a tougher cut of meat taken from the front of the animal, whereas the corned beef produced in Ireland comes from the hindquarter.
· Another food associated with St. Patrick’s Day, Irish soda bread gets its unique name from its ingredients. When baking this beloved bread, bakers use baking soda instead of yeast as a leavening agent.