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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid