Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day And George Washington

I wrote previously here about how, despite the fact that Valentine's Day dates back to Roman times, the holiday as we celebrate it today (with cards, flowers, candy and gifts) is essentially a creation of post-World War II America.

I expected something similar to be true of Saint Patrick's Day, which is today.  But as it turns out St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in America as early as the 1760s, in ways that sound similar to the way it's celebrated today.  New York State's first St. Patrick's Day parade was staged on this date in 1762, and the first celebration of St. Patrick's Day in New York City itself was apparently held in 1766 at the "Crown and Thistle" tavern.  In 1780, no less a figure than General George Washington allowed his troops a holiday on March 17th, “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence."

On a barely related note, embedded below is a 30 second clip from The Simpsons about designated drivers on St. Patrick's Day.

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