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This contest is fueled by the following news: Spectators at San Francisco's 152 annual St. Patrick's Day Parade were greeted by picture perfect skies, music and candy. The largest crowd in years came to the event. Green hats, clothing and even hair was in abundance along the parade route on legendary Market Street. The parade itself lasted three hours and included floats, dancers, Irish bands -- and plenty of candy thrown to the spectators.
Saint Patrick is one of the most honored Saints in the world. The Western church celebrates the 17th of March, and some orthodox churches celebrate on the 30th of March as per the new calendar (the 17th of March as per the old calendar).
There are pagan reasons also for the Day of Saint Patrick. Thus, one of its indispensable heroes are leprechauns - fairy shoe men having gold hidden in a pot. If the lucky searcher finds a leprechaun, then this creature should explain to the person, where the treasure is kept. However, if you suddenly find a leprechaun, then remember, that you should not believe him – these people may be evil and pranksters, and easily may cheat the trusty searcher of treasure.
There is a saying that leprechauns entered to celebrate the Day of Saint Patrick recently. Companies selling greeting cards were requiring a person on this day that can come in pictures. The harsh but kind preacher Saint Patrick was not suitable for this role. Leprechauns in pictures as a rule were wearing sharp ended caps and leather aprons.
The fortune on the day of Saint Patrick can come in other ways – only you have to find a four leaf shamrock. Such a leaf of brings success always, but on the Day of Saint Patrick such fortune becomes double. But it is not clear, in the case of people from northern countries, where this festival comes during the cold start of spring, when the foliage on the meadow is absent.
Traditionally on the day of Saint Patrick parades are organized. People come to the streets in extravagant suits and also organize brass bands, which cannot exist without noticeable bagpipes. Folk talk says that this tradition was born in Ireland. But most probably this is not the case.
In any case, New York and Boston contest the palm of superiority. New York people say that first parade was organized in 1762 in their city itself. At that time, Irish people were under the leadership of English men, and it is quite possible that the people of the unruly North American colonies expressed their solidarity with them in such manner.
But since then in New York one of the most splendid festivals is celebrated on this day. This festival reached Boston – the Irish city of the USA only in 1802. Though, some people say, that first Day of Saint Patrick was organized in the USA by the Ireland Association of Boston charity in the year of 1737.
At present, hundreds of millions of people in the world celebrate the festival parade of the Day of Saint Patrick. On this day the entire world – from Dublin to Sydney and from New York to St. Petersburg – becomes Irish.
Irish people and their friends recollect music and dances, spectacles and happy triumph. But mainly – parades with processions of brass bands, extravagant dresses, folk works and laughing faces.
On the day of Saint Patrick, every American becomes an honored Irish; everything becomes green, even that which cannot become greenish in principle. Green beer is served in bars, green bagels are sold in shops and in Chicago the water in the river is painted with a green color.
In Spain, this festival is celebrated imperceptibly except in the cities Lorki and Mursii – because in 1452 on the 17th of March on the day of Saint Patrick, Christian knights from Lorki and Mursii defeated the Mauritanian knights from Muslim Granada in a war at Alporchon. As lot of historians say, this was the last stage to win back the Christian lands from the Muslims, which was ended in 1492 by surrendering the Granada.
The Spanish King Castilian Huan gave Lorka city the title of Noble city and a self emblem. And as a symbol of victory on the day of Saint Patrick, Pope Clement VII blessed the building in Lorka as the Church of Saint Patrick, which even now is one of the main points of interest in the city.
There is an opinion that on the day of Saint Patrick, it is necessary to drink at least one glass of alcohol in any Irish bar: on this day all bars become Irish and all musicians – Irish. Competitions can be organized (without any abuse) for the drinking of alcohol in the name of Saint Patrick and the "emerald country". There is a "Patrick charc" – a unit of measurement of whiskey, which was drunk on the day of Saint Patrick. Tradition says that before drinking the glass of whiskey, it is necessary to put on a trefoil leaf. From that time, people say 'drowning the shamrock'.
In Ireland, on the day of Saint Patrick, a parade is organized in more than 30 cities including the main parades in Cork, Galvie, Limerick and obviously in Dublin with its grand festivals.
It is funny, that in Ireland this festival was treated as exclusively religious for a long period, and up to the 70's of the last century Irish rules ordered all pubs to close on the 17th of March!
Now on the streets of Dublin, festival processions take place and live music is performed in pubs. The people of the city wear rust color wigs and green colored caps, which are sold in shops, and carry with them pots with shamrocks (one of the symbols of Ireland – the four leafed clover) and national flags. Evenings fireworks are organized. The festival is always celebrated with impetuous fun.
Parades in the honor of Saint Patrick are stretched and scattered to the Irish people, who live across the world.