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March 17 is a day traditionally marked by the color green. And while it is traditionally associated with a day to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland, over the years it has become a day when Irish heritage and culture are celebrated worldwide. It is such a popular day that it is definitely not restricted to the Irish alone. In fact, many people forego their own heritage and “adopt” the Irish way of life on this one day each year.

It’s no secret that many people look forward to this day to have a good time. Some major cities even have festivals, complete with parades. These celebrations have become so big that most even have a dedicated website. Here are just a few examples of how some cities nationwide celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

  • In San Francisco, for example, this year, they will celebrate with their 166th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The celebration will include a full-day festival at their City Hall and include live performances and entertainment, arts and crafts exhibitors, food and beverage concessions, children’s rides and inflatables, and non-profit booths representing the Irish community.
  • In Atlanta, they’re annual parade has been running since 1858, which makes it Atlanta’s longest-running event. The parade boasts 749 dancers, 2,341 participants, and 80,000 spectators. That’s one solemn parade.
  • St. Louis might have the best celebration of all. The festivities there aren’t just a one-day event. The celebration is spread out over an entire weekend with 3 different events; a formal dinner at the Hilton, a 5-mile run, AND a parade! Wow, that’s what I call a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
  • Of all the cities that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, one city truly makes the most significant mark of all. Every year, the city of Chicago actually dyes the Chicago River green. (See picture below).

Chicago River

Here at Adopt A Highway®, we vicariously live out our Irish heritage through one of our Massachusetts sponsors. Waxy’s, Modern Irish Bar, is a place for kitchen fresh food, crafted cocktails, and of course, Irish Beer. And according to them, when you walk in the door, you should be prepared to chat because that’s what they love. ” Where are you from? What do you do? Have you ever been to Ireland?” And you can also be sure of one thing, a warm welcome, a unique experience, and lots of fun. They have several locations nationwide, including 6 in Massachusetts; stop by if you’re in the area.

While many other cities have similar events, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day roots date back to the 5th century when a sixteen-year-old boy named Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland. He spent six years there working as a shepherd, and during this time, he “found God”. After making his way home, Patrick went on to become a priest. Tradition holds that he died on March 17th and was buried at Downpatrick. Over the following centuries, many legends grew up around Patrick, and he became Ireland’s foremost saint.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in some parts of the world, including the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat.

However you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, just make sure you put on something green and keep a lookout for Leprechauns on March 17th.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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