Patrick’s Day popular in America

Patrick’s Day popular in America

Leaving the old country for better opportunities in America started in colonial times, but larger groups of Irish immigrants came during the deadly Irish Potato Famine in the 1850s.

The estimated 4.5 million Irish who arrived in America between 1820 and 1930 imported lively music, religious traditions, political organizing and cuisine.

“Between 1820 and 1860, the Irish constituted over one third of all immigrants to the United States. In the 1840s, they comprised nearly half of all immigrants to this nation,” states an article on the Library of Congress website.

Mention St. Patrick’s Day and often visions come to mind of shamrocks, 40 shades of green, laments and jigs, dancing, green beer, corned beef and cabbage, festivals, parties and marching on Main Streets.

What was a simple religious feast day in the 1600s commemorating the death of St. Patrick in the fifth century, the day has grown out of its mostly religious roots into a public spectacle. In Ireland it’s evolved into a four day extravaganza with a two hour parade in Dublin celebrated by up to 500,000 people.

Irish descendants in Walla Walla commemorated Friday, March 17, 1916, with a program offering an oratory address, music and moving pictures. A local newspaper article from March 12 that year indicated the descendants would have a formal observance in the parish hall at St. Patrick Catholic Church. They imported a Rev. Seymoure from Portland to be guest speaker and featured two reels of pictures showing Irish scenes. Ennis, Thomas Dorland, Dr. Elmer Hill, Prof. Ferdinand Fillion and the St. Patrick Church Choir provided music.

One source reports the roots of the American celebration can be traced to 1762, when Irish soldiers in the British Army marched through New York City to reconnect with their heritage on March 17.

Before his death at 37 in 1864, American composer Stephen Foster incorporated Irish lyricism and pentatonic scale into his cheap jerseys works. And such Irish ballads as “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, “My Wild Irish Rose” and “Danny Boy” found popularity here.

Sources are split on whether or not corned beef is an Irish tradition. Wandrei writes that “in Ireland, the Irish frequently ate boiled pork products ham, salt pork or bacon with cabbage and potatoes. Arriving in America, they found pork more expensive than beef, so they replaced pork with corned beef. It was adopted by Irish American immigrants as a cheap alternative to bacon.”

“The Irish immigrants almost solely bought their meat from kosher butchers.

We’ve certainly embraced corned beef and cabbage, regardless of where it originated.

Consider the harsh discrimination and anti Catholic sentiments exacted on Irish arriving in America in the 1850s.

“In the 19th century, Irish Americans stuck together in their places of employment and built the infrastructure for America’s labor unions. This included unions in the public sector, such as those associated with police forces, railroad workers and utility contractors,” Wandrei writes.

Irish in America were known to be pugilistic and hot tempered, solving disagreements with a left hook and a right cross.

This feistiness evolved into the new sport of boxing, which found itself intertwined with politics. “The power brokers of New York City’s Tammany Hall, hired thugs who used their fists to assert the political machine’s power.

“Boxers such as John Sullivan and John Morrissey fostered the reputation of the ‘Fighting Irish.'” Patrick’s Day also has a commercial component. In 1928, a newspaper ad from Keyes confectionery restaurant in Walla Walla touts that “We have an especially fine variety of St. Patrick’s Day candies, such as green bonbons, spiced jelly strips, mint wafers, satin finish mint leaves, candy potatoes, chocolates, mint leaves, spiced jelly drops, shamrock wafers, holiday candy boxes and other party favors.

In March 1952Walla Walla’s Miss Salute to Spring Joan McClane posed with leprechaun clad Bill Murphy and Cookie Doty for St. Patrick’s Day green tag specials on Monday, March 17.

BloggerGoal Recommends HostGator Hosting

BloggerGoal strongly recommends Hostgator Hosting for all of your web hosting needs. Sign up today

Use coupon code "bloggergoal" to get 25% discount on any hosting packages.

I'm a Internet marketer for last 5 years and Owner of, I'm trying to help every new blogger with all the latest offers, discounts and tutorials.

Share This Post

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress · Designed by Blogger Goal