A lot of Irish
About 34.7 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry. This number is more than seven times the population of Ireland, which is 4.58 million (numbers all according to the 2010 U.S. Census). Percentage-wise, the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts lead the ranks in their respective categories. (Sorry New York, but we’re ignoring “total population” numbers.) The community with the most Irish Americans in the entire country (percentage-wise) is also local. Some 47.5 percent of Scituate’s roughly 18,000 residents claim Irish ancestry.
Raise A pint… after the parade
Despite St. Patrick’s Day’s unofficial reputation as a drinking holiday, you aren’t allowed to bring any booze to the Southie Parade. It’s a $200 fine, and police enforce this rule. In the past two years, officers patrolling the parade issued more than 500 citations for public drinking. In spite of this strict booze ban, Boston and the rest of the world manage to combine to put back about 13 million pints of Guinness each St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick wasn’t Irish
The patron saint of the Irish actually considered himself both a Roman and a Briton. He introduced Christianity to the Irish, which is why he became their patron saint. It’s believed that St. Patrick was born in Dunbarton, Scotland, Cumberland, England, or in northern Wales. At the time, those parts of the U.K. were under Roman rule.
What are we celebrating, again?
A holy day of obligation and a national holiday in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is not an officially recognized holiday in the U.S. Boston and surrounding communities are the only ones in the entire country that officially shut down for the day. Sure we have the oldest and one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country. But while Irish influence may deserve partial credit for the day off, the holiday is officially known as Evacuation Day. It’s a celebration of the British troops’ evacuation of Boston, which happened on March 17, 1776.
Not Going Green
It’s well-known that green is the color to wear on St. Patrick’s Day, that goes for our local sports teams as well. The Red Sox have donned green in spring training games on St. Patrick’s Day since 2004. The Bruins rolled out a jersey last year that they wore during warm-ups. In 2009, the Celtics, though, were forced to ditch the green. They played the Chicago Bulls in Chicago, and the home team chose to show off their green commemorative jerseys. The Celtics wound up making four more turnovers than the Bulls, which we assume had something to do with confusion over uniform color. They wound up losing the game 127-121.