St. Patrick's Day rites: parades, bagpipes, clinking pints


St. Patrick's Day rites: parades, bagpipes, clinking pints
(Brian Lawless)

Oh Danny boy, 'tis the season when Irish bagpipes are playing in the hallways of the White House, across Savannah, Georgia's swooning boughs, and in the concrete glens of New York City as the U.S. celebrates St. Patrick's Day with parades, pub crawls, and a state visit.

On Friday, Savannah's downtown walkways and oak-shaded squares were crowded with thousands of visitors and residents. The procession in the city, a 199-year-old custom, is the biggest in the South.

In order to reserve space in the squares for picnic tables and party tents, veteran parade observers arrived before sunrise. Bars opened at 7 a.m. to welcome customers who were already thirsty for Bloody Marys and beer.

Crowds gathered on Fifth Avenue to see bagpipes and bands play and pay respect to Ireland's patron saint for the annual parade in New York City, which prides itself on being the largest and oldest in the world.

At the yearly St. Patrick's Day Breakfast Reception, New York Mayor Eric Adams observed that "everything seems to turn to green when we march up Fifth Avenue."

One of the many groups, the mayor added, "that make up our city and that makes us great" is the Irish immigrant community, whose contributions to the development of New York City go back a long way.

The parade's grand marshal, Kevin Conway, took the initiative.

"We're going to march in honor of everything Irish, the Irish people, and the Irish culture. We're going to march in honor of the Good Friday Peace Agreement's 25th anniversary," he said, referring to the agreement that helped put an end to sectarian fighting over the reunification of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK.

After visiting from Ireland, Bernadette Byrne watched the procession and immediately felt at home.

She remarked, "I love the atmosphere. "Everyone is so amiable."

Several towns, like Chicago, already staged their parades last weekend. Chicago, for example, colors its river green to honor a day when everyone dresses up as Irish. This weekend, parades and other events will take place in various cities, including Boston. The parade's grand marshal is Kevin Conway.

As President Joe Biden, who frequently speaks of his Irish heritage, welcomes Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for a long-standing meeting between the two heads of state that had been postponed two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fountain on the South Lawn of the White House will also be flowing green.

Several parade observers wore shorts, green T-shirts, and strands of green plastic beads because Savannah temperatures were expected to go as high as the mid-seventies. Mike Trout covered his bald head and face in green makeup and added an orange fake mustache as a finishing touch.

"You have the spirit, brother!" remarked one bystander clapping Trout on the shoulder as he his wife, Diana, toured the streets before the march. The Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, couple took a trip

Trout remarked, "She's Irish, and I'm an Irish want tobe.

The St. Patrick's Day parade in Savannah, Georgia, which was founded in 1824 by Irish immigrants to Georgia's oldest city, has grown to become the second-largest street party in the South after Mardi Gras.

Sheila Barry, a native of Savannah who set up camp with a friend along Abercorn Street close to the beginning of the parade route, stated, "This is a lot of people. They brought sandwiches, drinks, and something Barry slyly referred to as "Saint. Patrick's holy water."

The names of Barry's late parents, Irish immigrants who arrived in Savannah more than 50 years ago, were stitched on a wide emerald green felt belt that she wore. Barry is 55 years old. They adored Savannah's Irish customs and St. Patrick's Day festivities, she claimed.

“Everybody, they’re all Irish today,” Barry said. “Everybody’s just here to have a good time.”

Vivian Penn’s 2-year-old granddaughter, Adeline, clapped and waved as Savannah’s parade kicked off with school children in kilts carrying American and Irish flags followed by the droning whine of a bagpipe band. The girl in a white dress with shamrocks and green stripes celebrated her birthday just two days before St. Patrick’s Day.

“She’s always going to be an Irish redhead,” Penn said of her blond grandchild.

Friday marked just the second parade in Savannah since the coronavirus pandemic forced city officials to pause the celebration in 2020 and 2021. Even last year’s comeback parade seemed subdued, with plenty of elbow room along the typically packed parade route, said Penn, who lives nearby in Savannah’s downtown historic district.

This appears to be returning to normal, Penn said. I immediately thought, "Yeah, it's St. Patrick's Day this morning! It was amazing to watch everyone outside the window sprinting down the street while carrying chairs.

After the cancellation of the annual St. Patrick's Day gathering two years in a row due to the COVID-19 outbreak, President Joseph Biden will host Ireland's prime minister on Friday.

Following Biden's announcement that he would visit both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland this year—the 25th anniversary of the deal struck by the United States on Good Friday—the meeting with a leading ally of the United States took place.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post