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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More