News / USA

NYC Hosts St. Patrick's Day Parade

These two girls were cold but happy at New York's Saint Patrick's Day Parade, March 17, 2014. (VOA Photo by Adam Phillips)
These two girls were cold but happy at New York's Saint Patrick's Day Parade, March 17, 2014. (VOA Photo by Adam Phillips)
Adam Phillips
March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, and for millions of Americans of Irish descent, and others in search of a good time, that means a razzle-dazzle parade up New York’s Fifth Avenue.

The weather was bitter cold on St. Patrick’s Day, but that didn’t stop an estimated 150,000 marchers and musicians from processing up Fifth Avenue, just as they have every year since 1762.  Organizers say the march is the oldest and largest parade in the world.

Many bore Irish and American flags, and the banners of their Irish or Gaelic organizations, such as police, firefighter clubs and area high schools.  

Rick Burns was one of the estimated million spectators at the parade.

”We’re here because of Jackson Memorial High School, in Jackson, New Jersey," he said. "My son and Fatima’s daughter march."

When asked what was especially Irish about the day, Burns had a ready answer. 

"Everybody’s a little Irish today, even if you’re not Irish," he said.

The size and scope of the event has become an American tradition - and a New York tradition.

One group of college boys was proud that the Big Apple boasts a much larger parade than the one in Dublin, Ireland’s capital. 

“They probably hate us,” laughed one.  “New York is everything bigger than anywhere else.  It’s the best city in the world. So it does everything bigger!” said another.

Two Irish American girls, costumed and made up in the green and orange of the Irish flag, looked especially happy.

“It’s our heritage. It’s awesome. A little cold, but awesome.”

A reporter asked an Irish tourist what it means to be Irish in America.

The reply, “Irish people are happy no matter where they are. They celebrate St. Patrick’s no matter where they are, because it’s part of who we are!"

Parade organizers excluded Irish Americans who say they are gay.  It’s a controversial position that prompted Guinness, the Irish beer company, to withdraw its sponsorship.  Bill de Blasio, New York’s new mayor, also opted out of the march in protest.  

One lady sympathized with the mayor's position. 

“I don’t think they should stop them," she said. "Why just pick on one particular group. I would be for it. I think everybody should be allowed the freedom to march if they want. Why not?”

Nearby, a man hearing this disagreed.

“God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.  The Bible says seven times against it and the mayor wants to go with it!”

Controversy and celebration, music, revelry and complaint. On St. Patrick’s Day and every day in New York, it’s all part of the passing parade.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid