Bob Schmuhl on the History of St. Patrick's Day

Author: Rebecca Corrente

2017’s Best Cities for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Mar 9, 2017  |  Richie Bernardo, Senior Writer

Believe it or not, the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade didn’t take place in Ireland. Its roots are actually in the U.S., though some say Boston while others claim New York. Regardless, what began as a parade in the 18th Century is today one of America’s biggest cultural holidays. Nearly 33 million people in the U.S. claim Irish ancestry, after all. That’s more than the entire population of Ireland itself. As this lucky group of people expanded over the centuries, so too did American St. Paddy’s Day traditions. Chicago, for instance, gained fame for dyeing its river green, while other places are now known for their elaborate pageants, pub crawls or long processions of marching bagpipers.

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Originally published at on March 9, 2017