St. Patrick's Day or St. Paddy's Day (please do not spell it "Patty's") has become a festive day full of parades, bagpipes, and of course, green beer. It is a day where we honor the memory of St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland, who has been credited with bringing Catholicism to the country.
Crazy Days of Craic
But when and why did this crazy day of craic (Irish for "fun") begin?
Let us start with the day itself.
March 17th is the anniversary of St. Patrick's death and has been celebrated by the Irish for over 1000 years. You will find most Irish people will attend mass in the morning before starting their day of celebration.
Every city has its own tradition, and Cleveland, OH is no different.
Cleveland's first public celebration of St. Patrick's Day occurred in 1842. On this day, Cleveland people of Irish decent gathered and celebrated the patron saint.
Today, tens of thousands of people will go downtown Cleveland to see the parade and celebrate their Irish heritage, welcoming many more who just want to be a part of it, if only for just one day.
(Joe Lardie pictured --boy on right)
The Cleveland Irish Community has two Irish American Clubs, and in true Cleveland fashion, one is on the West Side (Olmsted Falls) and the other is on the East Side (Euclid).
These members, their families and countless others will attend mass in the morning, which will open with each clubs' marchers, pipers and drummers leading the procession into church. Then the two sides of town will converge downtown to march Superior Avenue along with many other Cleveland area groups, such as the police and firemen with their bagpipe bands, high school bands, as well as some floats, all to the glee of the kids and adults alike.
It seems everyone has their family's specific tradition on this greatest of all holy days, but all of them, including celebrating family, friends, and heritage...and mine is no different.
(All photos provided by Joe Lardie.)