As they say: “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.”
One of New York City’s most beloved celebrations is the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Drums and marching bands gather from all around the US to perform in the annual festivities.
The first procession was on March 17, 1762 — a full 14 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Talk about a tradition!
Below is your guide to the St. Patrick’s Parade, where with any luck, you’ll meet a Leprechaun.
Saturday, March 16th, 11 a.m. The whole shebang should wrap up between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m.
The parade starts at 5th Avenue and 44th Street. Paraders march uptown and will conclude at the American Irish Historical Society at 80th St. Prime viewing will be anywhere along Fifth Avenue, but the closer you want to stand to Fifth, the earlier you should get there.
Who will be the Grand Marshall each year is a well-kept secret until October. The 2019 Grand Marshal is lifelong New Yorker Dr. Brian John O’Dwyer, Esq.
Marching bands from all over the country march in the St Patrick’s Day Parade. If you like drums, majorettes and Sousa, you’ll love this event.
St. Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Believe it or not, there really are no snakes in Ireland, and St Pat is also credited with chasing them out.
Tips for watching the parade:
- The parade goes on, rain or shine.
- Get there early if you want to be close to the action.
- Alcohol is strictly forbidden on the route by NYC law. Hooligans who attend the festivities drunk will be removed. But don’t worry, there are plenty of wonderful Irish bars nearby where you can lift a glass (or hoist a pint) once the official celebration is done.
Backpacks and large bags are subject to search by NYPD. For everyone’s safety, leave them home.
Just to get you into the mood, here are a few Irish expressions and words of Irish origin you may want to use on the day of. Some will be a surprise. Use them liberally!
- “I’m on me tod”: going to the bar alone
- Acting the maggot: being obnoxious
- May the road rise up to meet you. A traditional Irish blessing
- Knackered — exhausted
- Grand: Irish way of saying “Great”
- Avocado, yes, avocado.
The first recorded use of “avocado” was by Sir Hans Sloane, the naturalist born in County Down. Smash one to smithereens on your next piece of toast!
Stay safe and have a grand time at the parade. Try not to act the maggot or come home knackered!
Image via MarineCorps New York/Flickr