A Guide to St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations and Customs

shambar02“Everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” or so goes the saying. Judging by the number of people around that world that enjoy St. Patty’s celebrations, it seems that the saying has never been truer.

No matter what side of the Atlantic you’re on, what religion you practice or what nationality you claim, St. Patrick’s Day universally equals boisterous parades, ruckus parties, and pinching anyone not wearing green. For more information on enjoying the Irish holiday, read this how-to guide with descriptions of activities and customs.

NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade


St. Patrick’s Day festivities in the United States date back as far as 1737, when Boston held the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Today, over 100 U.S. cities have parades to mark the occasion. The largest two are in Chicago and New York, where over 2 million spectators show up.

If you want to catch the Chicago parade, set up on Columbus Drive, the main drag for the parade.

New York City saw its first St. Patty’s parade in 1762, when a group of Irish-born soldiers staged an impromptu march with their regimental band.

Today, over with 150,000 marchers, led by the Irish 165th Infantry, parade down 5th Avenue. To grab the best spectator spot in Manhattan, try the north end of the route from the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Even if you can’t make it to Chicago or New York, you still have a good shot of enjoying a St. Patty’s Day parade. From Cleveland to LA, Miami to Toronto, and dozens of small towns in between, North America loves a good parade and St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse.

Going Green

On St. Patty’s Day, �going green� doesn’t refer to environmentalism. Instead, it literally means the color green � wearing it, drinking it, and eating it. The greener the better, even including dyeing the rivers green! For over 40 years, the city of Chicago has dyed the Chicago River green. The city uses a vegetable dye that starts off orange � but with some Leprechaun magic, it turns green in time for St. Patty’s Day.


If ever there was a time to enjoy a pint of Irish beer, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. And fortunately you don’t need to travel to the Emerald Isle to find a great Irish pub. They’re everywhere. According to IrishAbroad.com, there are 800 registered Irish pubs in Ireland, 1500 in the U.S., 300 in Canada, 80 in Australia and even 15 in the Middle East.

At a pub in the U.S. on St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll probably get handed a pint of green Guinness � a — a tradition the Irish scoff at. Even still, if you want to make your own green beer, just add one drop of food coloring to a beer mug and then pour in your cool one. Cheers! Or should we say “Sláinte!”