At first, the St. Patrick’s Day celebration was not welcomed with open arms and did not place Irish Americans in a favorable light. The newspapers actually responded by printing cartoons that portrayed the Irish as drunk and violent. They were oftentimes depicted as monkeys. However, this article points out an eventual shift in power and recognition.
The attention that the Irish received started to address another significant issue that the culture soon recognized as a positive. They learned that their growing numbers created an entryway into politics. Some started to organize and establish a voting block, which was dubbed the ‘green machine.’ Political hopefuls looked at this opportunity as a way to swing votes in their favor.
In an instant, politicians took notice to the importance of attending the annual St. Patrick’s Day parades as a way to make a connection with the Irish Americans. President Truman, who attended the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City in 1948, made a notable appearance.
Spreading the Celebration
From the United States to Australia, people all over the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, including Russia, Japan, and Singapore. For instance, Russians celebrate the patron saint of the Irish by wearing green or orange clothing and eating Irish foods. Music and dancing is also a part of their festivities. Since 1992, a parade in Moscow has been held to mark St. Patrick’s Day. A parade event that also dates back to 1992 takes place in Japan as the largest Irish event in the country.
In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is considered a traditional religious occasion. Interestingly, up until the 1970s, Irish law demanded that pubs close down on March 17. In 1995, this practice was lifted so that the Irish government could use the day as a way to attract people to Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The government could not resist the opportunity to increase tourism and share a piece of Ireland with the rest of the world. In Dublin, the St. Patrick’s Festival spans more than one day and features concerts, outdoor theater productions, fireworks, and of course, parades.
Cool St. Patrick’s Day Rituals
When it comes to fascinating St. Patrick’s Day traditions, the Chicago River offers a fun annual event that consists of during the body of water green. The ritual dates back to 1962 when pollution-control employees working for the city got in the habit of using dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges. Eventually, someone had the bright idea to use the green dye as a way to celebrate the holiday.
It takes 100 pounds of green vegetable dye deposited into the river to keep the waters green for an entire week. This wasn’t the first time someone came up with a plan to turn a river green. In 1961, the mayor of Savannah (Tom Woolley) wanted to create a green river but since the water was rough, his attempts did not pan out and the idea was never tried again.