Local Activities | March 14, 2013
St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish history, heritage and culture. There are St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivals throughout the world. Irish immigrants came to America as soon as the English started colonizing in the 1600’s. The years during the Great Potato Famine in Ireland (1845-1853) saw the largest number of Irish immigrants come to America. Over 2 million Irishmen, women and children left Ireland for America, which was over 1/4th of the population of Ireland at that time. Since the mid 1800’s, Baltimore has been an entry point for European immigrants, including Irish immigrants. Irish families settled into working class areas of Baltimore and Washington D.C. The men typically went to work on the railroads, such as the Baltimore & Ohio, and the women went to work in the homes as domestics. The Irish brought with them a strong sense of tradition and heritage, which we still celebrate today. St. Patrick’s Day is the day of the death of the patron saint of Ireland, Patrick. He passed away on March 17th, 461. For centuries, this day was just a religious holiday celebrating the life of St. Patrick. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1764. The first continuous St. Patrick’s Day parade was started in Savannah, Georgia in 1813 and continues to this day. Over the past 50 years, St. Patrick’s Day has become a more secular celebration. Cities and towns across the globe have parades in celebration of Irish culture. The largest parades are in New York City, Chicago, Boston and Savannah. But, many other cities have long traditions of parades, including Cleveland, which has held a parade for the last 150 years. The Northern Virginia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by having music festivals, parades and events during the first few weeks of March. Alexandria, Virginia is the first to celebrate with a St. Patrick’s Parade on March 2nd. The city of Baltimore held its St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the streets of downtown Baltimore to the Inner Harbor this past Saturday, March 10th. The parade, which has been going for the past 50 years, had marching bands, performers, community groups and more in the parade. The morning before the parade starts is the Shamrock 5K Run. The proceeds from this run go back to the parade organization group. Washington D. C. has two big St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on March 16th and 17th. Saturday, March 16th is the 13th Annual National Shamrock Fest . Over 40 bands and DJ’s will be performing on 9 stages throughout the day. The festival is at RFK Stadium. There are also carnival rides, games, food, drink and historical villages. March 17th is the “Nation’s St. Patrick’s Parade” . The parade starts at noon and lasts over 2 ½ hours. The parade route is down Constitution Ave from 7th to 17th St NW. The Washington D. C. parade started in 1971 and will have marching and military bands, pipe & drum corps, Irish dancers and other performers as participants in this year’s parade. The theme for the 2013 parade is: “Celebrating Service to the Stars and Stripes.” There will be many local Irish pubs and restaurants that will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with special events. Everyone is a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! If you are celebrating, ezStorage hopes that you celebrate responsibly. Slainte!