History of St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is this Thursday, March 17th. The day was dedicated as a saint’s day to recognize the anniversary of the death of the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. The Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday with solemn tips to church since the 9th or 10th century as the day lands in the middle of Lenten season. Actually, St. Patrick’s Day is a relatively somber holiday in Ireland. After the Irish began immigrating to the United States, parades and other events were organized on March 17th as a means to show their pride for their heritage. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States took place in New York in the 1760s. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is an international festival celebrating Irish heritage with parades, dancing, food and music.
There are more than 100 parades held in cities around the world to honor St. Patrick’s Day. The largest parades in the United States are held in New York City, Boston, Chicago and Savannah. New York City’s parade is the largest with over 150,000 participants and over 3 million spectators. Celebrants will be taking part in parades, events and celebrations starting this weekend throughout the United States.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations and Parade in the Cleveland Area
The city of Cleveland is no exception to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. The Cleveland area has a very strong Irish community. Nearly 13 percent of Cuyahoga County residents have Irish decent. People celebrate the day in Cleveland by going to the parade, attending festivals and events at the many Irish pubs and restaurants in town. You can find information on starting off your day at a “Kegs and Eggs” events downtown, then go to one of the many downtown bars and restaurants having special events before the parade.
There has been a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Cleveland for 149 years. The parade is sponsored by the United Irish Societies of Greater Cleveland. Cleveland’s parade is one of the oldest in the country. Today, there are over 10,000 participants and 125 units, including military troops, marching bands, pipes and drum corps, dancers, floats and more. The parade starts at 1:04 pm at East 18th and Superior Avenue, The parade winds down Superior Ave to East 3rd and ends on Rockwell. Thousands of people come downtown via RTA to enjoy the parade and all of the fun and festivities.
St. Patrick’s Day Myths
There are many myths and traditions that go along with St. Patrick’s Day that actually aren’t true. Below are just a few of these myths and the facts behind St. Patrick’s Day traditions.
- St. Patrick wasn’t Irish: There are historical records that St. Patrick actually came from a wealthy family and was born in England. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders, who transported him back to Ireland where he spent the next six year. He escaped and decided to devote his life to the church. He later returned to Ireland to convert the pagans to Christianity.
- The shamrock isn’t the symbol of Ireland: Legends suggest that St. Patrick used the shamrock as a tool to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. However, it’s not the symbol of Ireland; that would be the harp, which has appeared on Irish gravestones and manuscripts as far back as the medieval times.
- Corned Beef isn’t an Irish tradition: In Ireland, the preferred meat is actually pork; Irish bacon, in fact, which is similar to Canadian bacon. However, when the first Irish immigrants came to the U.S., the cost of pork was far too expensive for their budgets. They were introduced to corned beef from their Jewish neighbors, as it was similar to the Irish bacon they were used to.
- Guinness sales double on St. Patrick’s Day: This is actually true. Guinness is the beer of choice on St. Patrick’s Day as it is produced in Dublin, Ireland. Recent figures show that every day, 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world. However, on St. Patrick’s Day that figure soars to 11 million pints!
- St. Patrick did not drive the snakes out of Ireland: This is probably one of the most popular Irish myths, but actually, there’s never been any evidence that snakes lived in Ireland at all. It’s too cold there for them
St. Patrick's Day Special at Men's Cuts
No matter how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the Cleveland area, Men’s Cuts hope that you have a safe and fun time. If you want to "look the part" for your St. Patrick's Day celebrations, add green chalk to your hair Wednesday or Thursday. It is water soluble and takes about 5 minutes. Mae Williams and the staff at Men's Cuts suggest to come in to the salon on Wednesday. For an added incentive, customers can test their Leprechaun luck on St. Patrick's Day only, with our gold coin drawing. After their hair cut on Thursday only, they can draw a coin at check-out. If the coin they draw is marked, their cut could be complimentary that day.