St Patrick’s Day and the Colorful Parade

Goretti, our neighbour, seems to know everyone and everything of consequence. She had been the principal of a prominent school of Dublin- that probably explains why.
Through February and March I had been asking a few people,who were, I confess, mainly expatriates about the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin. None of them had actually been to the parade but had watched it on television.In a phone conversation with Goretti ,in a last ditch effort, I asked her about what I could or should do to be there.  Being an extremely enthusiastic type, in case it is not already clear, I like to be in the middle of things-experience first hand and all that, you know. And Goretti had the answer.

So there I was- right there- watching the parade —

The 17th of March or Saint Patrick’s Day is the National Day of Ireland– like our own Indian Republic Day. 
It is celebrated to mark the feast day of St Patrick, who is said to have brought Christianity to Ireland.
The first parade of free Ireland (yes, fellow Indians-the British ruled Ireland for 700 years )was held in the 1930s.. It was in 1990s that the Irish government organized the first festival to celebrate their National Day- and ,wow! seeing it these days- was it successful !
The color associated with St Patrick was originally blue but got changed to green in more recent times.
And what a sea of green it is–
St Patrick is supposed to have used the Shamrock, a three leafed plant native to Ireland,as an expression of the Holy Trinity,the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A lot of people wear the shamrock on this day- including the President of Ireland–a most eloquent and charming personality- 

The celebrations consist of fairs and fireworks through the weekend, and ,on the day itself, a parade.People line the route of the parade. Dignitaries, including the President, arrive and take their seats. Then
the Mayor arrives in a horse-drawn carriage- much like our own President used to for the 26th January parade in Delhi before the Terrorism Days began –

                                                           The brass band strikes up-

                                     and the parade begins-   a riot of color and pattern-

                                                                 With the youth-

                                                         
                                                            And the very young-

                                                                  With plenty of  ideas-

                                                   And Science fiction tableaux- all very colorful.

Across the world there are said to be 80 million people who claim Irish ancestry- 50 million in the United States alone ! Including the Kennedy family and even Barack Obama- through his mother’s side.    And there are supposed to be 25 million people of Indian origin (only !) outside of India- including Zubin Mehta and Amartya Sen-proudly our own !
So St Patrick’s day Parades are very big in the United States. In fact, the first parade of its kind was supposed to have been held not anywhere in Ireland but in New York.In 1848 !  It was supposed to be the Irish immigrant community’s show of strength and identity in an environment full of prejudice and racial stereotyping.

These days prominent monuments across the world including the Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House  are lit up in green by Tourism Ireland to promote Ireland- expensive but quite effective.

That is great isn’t it ?  You can be a tiny country but be fabulous promoters and organizers ! Just look at St Patrick Day’s Parade and the number of people who come to see it – rain and all !

Photos: 1st one from ‘Irish Gazette’, the rest by Debashish.
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About Adity

Hello ! You are either already a friend or will become one--through this medium! I am an artist and jewellery maker, a wife and mother to two lovely children. Beautiful homes, food, nature and wonderful things happening around me make me ecstatic. That is why I started to write this blog-- to share with you all of these things. After all what good is any experience if not shared !
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4 Responses to St Patrick’s Day and the Colorful Parade

  1. harveen says:

    Loved reading it.

  2. Thanks Harveen- happy you liked it !

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