Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day Y'all!

Back in Arkansas, we didn't get too excited about St. Patrick's Day.  There's not really a lot of celebrations, you don't see many parades and most folks certainly aren't pretending to be Irish for the day.  It seems as though it's a holiday celebrated by city folk, perhaps passing by rural America.

Hello St. Pat!
In researching for this blog, we've learned a little about St. Paddy.  Apparently, he was a real guy and lived in the 4th century, raised in Roman Britain by a wealthy family.  When he was 16, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave.  Patrick says God came to him in a dream and told him to flee back to Britain.  When he returned to his mother country, he began studying to become a priest.  Around 432, he returned to Ireland as a bishop and used the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish.  He died on March 17, 461.

A public holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated around the world.  Communities that have large Irish Catholic populations seem to have some of the bigger celebrations.  New York's first St. Paddy's Day parade was held on March 17, 1762 by Irish soldiers in the British Army.  The parades were held as social and political statements because of unfair Irish immigrants.  Today NYC's parade is 1.5 miles long and is the largest in the world.

Irish eyes are smiling
behind those sunglasses.
This St. Patrick's Day, we celebrated with the city of Albany at their annual parade held downtown.  We were treated to a sea of green garb wearing drunk people college students as we drove into the North Pearl Street viewing area by accident.  It took a few minutes, but we were able to park and walk a couple of blocks to watch the parade on State Street.  The roadway there was filled with families and generally less drunk looking people.

The parade lasted about 1.5 hours and it was one of the most interesting we've ever seen.  First of all, growing up in the conservative South, we sort of forget that people are more laid back about alcohol up here.  For some reason, it just didn't cross our minds that we forgot to accessorize with a case of Guinness at a public parade.  We now know better for next year!  Our favorites were the parents kicking back a beer in one hand and holding their children's hand while watching the parade with the other.

There were plenty of great green/Irish inspired costumes along the parade route.  We saw lots of folks, young and old, that were dressed to kill...or be killed.

Sweet...Green side burns!
Wonder if he has panties on?
Ahh...Beer Goggles.
How can you go wrong with gold lame fabric?
The parade featured just about every fire department in Upstate New York so we got to see lots of firetrucks and firefighters!

The parade was a little different than most that we've seen in the South.  There weren't a lot of floats or high school marching bands and no one was throwing candy.  The weird thing is that everyone walked.  The fire fighters, the police, the politicians and a handful of drunk people who just felt like joining the parade.  The funny thing is that the parade led with a bunch of horses...

Our first Albany parade was busting at the seams with bagpipers!  Our guess is that there were probably a lot of cold hineys during that parade!

After that parade, now we know just to go with it, so...Happy St. Patrick's Day y'all!

Kiss me, I'm Irish!