St. Patty’s Day is serious business in New York City. Even New Yorkers who haven’t a drop of Irish blood in their pedigree wear green, drink Guinness and get excited about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Whether you’re Irish or just look good in green, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day during your vacation to NYC is always a great idea.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2016
On Thursday, March 17, 2016, the NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade will take over Manhattan, marching up Fifth Avenue from 44th to 79thth Street. This procession of pomp and Irish pride begins at 11 am and ends between 4:30 p.m. and 5 pm. This tradition, more than 250 years old, continues annually in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York. It attracts about 2 million street viewers, as well as over a half-million households via television.
The Origins of the NYC St. Patty’s Day Parade
On March 17, 1762, 14 years before the Declaration of Independence was adopted, a band of homesick Irish ex-patriots and Irish military who served the British Army held a St. Patrick’s Day parade to celebrate their ability to, well celebrate being Irish. The parade participants celebrated their newfound freedom to speak Irish, wear green, sing Irish songs and play Irish music.
For the first few years after, the parade was organized by military units. After the War of 1812, Irish fraternities and societies took over the duties of hosting and sponsoring the event. By the mid 1800s, the individual societies merged, the Ancient Order of Hibernians took over marshaling the parade, and the size of it grew substantially larger.
To this day, the parade strictly consists of marchers only. There are no floats, automobiles and other commercial aspects, so that it stays true to its Irish roots.
Americans observe St. Patty’s Day coast to coast from cosmopolitan cities in Washington to rural wineries in Virginia, but there’s no bigger, grander celebration than in New York City. So, on this special day in 2016, pay homage to those Irish roots with a Guinness, green hat and good fun at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!
Happy St. Patty’s Day!