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Saint Patty's Day

Celebrations across the country

By Ezra Billinkoff | March 16 , 2007

Crowd watching parade
A group cheers as the Saint Patrick's Day parade marches up Fifth Avenue in New York City. (Photo: Brad Rickerby/Reuters)

March 16, 2007

On Saturday, millions of people around the world will celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, which honors the patron saint (or main religious figure) of Ireland. Communities across the United States will host parades, parties, and other festivities to mark the occasion.

This year, cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago have organized massive events celebrating Saint Patrick's Day.

In New York City, hundreds of thousands of people will gather to watch the Saint Patrick’s Day parade—the nation’s largest. It is one of the most watched parades in the world. Last year, almost 2 million spectators and more than 150,000 participants filled the streets. The parade, first held in 1776, is also one of the oldest.

Chicago also throws a big celebration. Every year, the Chicago River, which crosses the city, glows green as event organizers dump about 40 pounds of fluorescein, a powerful dye, into the water.

Boston keeps its “Southie” parade rolling for three hours or more. It is the nation’s second-largest parade. The city will also salute one of its most famous former residents, President John F. Kennedy, by opening the exhibit "A Journey Home: John F. Kennedy and Ireland," at his official library.

Ireland's Patron Saint

Saint Patrick lived in Britain in the early fifth century, when it was still part of the Roman Empire. He was captured and sold into slavery in Ireland when he was only 16.

He eventually escaped slavery and turned to a life of religious devotion. He trained to become a minister and set out to spread Christianity throughout Ireland. After 30 years as a religious leader, Patrick died on March 17, 461.

Saint Patrick’s Day is always celebrated on March 17. In Ireland, it is an official holiday.

Critical Thinking Question

Read today's news story, and then answer the following question.

Why do you think green is the official color of St. Patrick’s Day?

Join a discussion of this question on our bulletin board.


About the Author

Ezra Billinkoff is a contributing writer for Scholastic News Online.

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