When did the first St. Patrick’s Day parade take place? And just how much corned beef and cabbage is consumed in the U.S. each year? Find out how many Americans trace their lineage to Ireland and more fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day food and traditions.
When is St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick’s Day takes place each year on March 17, the traditional religious feast day of Saint Patrick.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
- Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. In 2009, roughly 26.1 billion pounds of beef and 2.3 billion pounds of cabbage were produced in the United States.
- Irish soda bread gets its name and distinctive character from the use of baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent.
- Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick’s Day parades and celebrations.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
- The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.
- More than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across the United States. New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations.
- At the annual New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, participants march up 5th Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street. Each year, between 150,000 and 250,000 marchers take part in the parade, which does not allow automobiles or floats.
Places to Spend St. Patrick’s Day
- There are seven places in the United States named after the shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland including Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK.
- Sixteen U.S. places share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. With 44,541 residents, Dublin, CA, is the largest of the nice, followed by Dublin, OH, with 39,310.
- Other towns with the luck of the Irish include Emerald Isle, North Carolina and Irishtown, Illinois.
Facts about Irish Americans
- There are 34.7 million U.S. residents with Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland itself.
- Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.
- Across the country, 11 percent of residents lay claim to Irish ancestry. That number more than doubles to 23 percent in the state of Massachusetts.
- Irish is the most common ancestry in 54 U.S. counties, of which 44 are in the Northeast. Middlesex County in Massachusetts tops the list with 348,978 Irish Americans, followed by Norfolk County, MA, which has 203,285.
- Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state except Hawaii and New Mexico. It is the leading ancestry group in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
- There are approximately 144,588 current U.S. residents who were born in Ireland.