By Melody Tobin '18
The beloved local tradition of the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City is getting closer and closer, and the community is bustling with festivities. Shamrocks and flags decorate the homes and businesses who choose to flaunt their Irish culture and pride.
This year, the parade march takes over the city in the blustering cold on Friday, March 17th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The dazzling display can be viewed along 5th ave. between 44th Street. and 79th Street.
Along the parade route, there are restaurants and sometimes pushcart food vendors on 6th Ave. and some of the side streets adjacent to the Parade route. Many streets will be closed and DVDs of the parade will be available for purchase.
For many, it is a day of culture and tradition among the celebrating families, "Every year all the grandkids come up. We have corned beef and cabbage," parade party host Jim Logan said. "It's for the kids to learn St. Patrick's Day traditions."
The lineup this year features Limerick native Michael J. Dowling, President & CEO of Northwell Health. Dowling is the first hospital head to serve as Grand Marshal of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. They are followed by multiple Irish societies who are situated in NYC, schools, colleges, Irish language and nationalist societies.
The parade found its roots in a group of homesick Irish ex-patriots and military who served with the British Army stationed in the colonies of New York.
This was during a time when wearing green was banned in Ireland but considered a sign of Irish pride. However, that parade in 1762 was when participants celebrated the freedom to speak Irish, wear green, sing traditional Irish folk songs and play bagpipes to Irish tunes that were meaningful to the immigrants at that time.
The tradition of marching past St. Patrick’s Cathedral also remained unchanged, and this parade to this day holds an important role in the Irish community of NYC.