Saint Patrick was born around 385 AD in the United Kingdom. When he was sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and was kept in captivity for six years. He managed to escape to France where he become a priest. Eventually, he came back to Ireland on a mission to spread Christianity. He used the shamrock as metaphor to explain the Christian concept of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Saint Patrick has been credited with converting the entire Irish race from paganism. He died on March 17, 461.
Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on 17th of March, the date of his death. Irish families have traditionally celebrated the feast of St Patrick as a religious holiday—a great pause during the Christian season of Lent when prohibitions were lifted for one day of dancing, drinking, and feasting on meat. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods, and a lot of green!
First official St Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City on March 17, 1766 by Irishmen in a military unit recruited to serve in the American colonies. The parade continued to be organized by military units until after the war of 1812. At that point, Irish fraternal and beneficial societies took over the duties of hosting and sponsoring the event. Today, across the United States, millions of Americans of Irish ancestry celebrate their cultural identity and history by enjoying St. Patrick’s Day parades and engaging in general revelry.
The St. Patrick’s Parade in Scranton has been going on annually since 1962. It is the sixth largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the USA and the second largest as measured by number of participants per population. It is recognized nationally as one of the most vibrant parades in the country. Each year, the celebration begins with a mass at 10:00 AM at St Peters’s Cathedral. Later, thousands of people line up the streets to watch Irish dancers, musicians, high school bands and local business. With its explosion of green, the parade marks the arrival of spring. People are eager to get out and have fun. Scranton turns into one big party from early hours when majority of bars open their doors. On March 17th everybody is Irish, even dogs!
All pictures by Jakub Jasinski http://www.jakubjasinskiphotography.com/