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Significance of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the afternoon. Lenten prohibits the consumption of meat, but this was waived and people would dance and feast on traditional foods in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  One of the most widespread of today's St. Patrick's Day celebrations, the St. Patrick's Day parade, began not in Ireland but in the United States.  It started as a parade of Irish soldiers serving in the English army and took place in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day in 1762. In 1848, several Irish Aid societies in New York decided to combine their parades into a single St. Patrick's Day Parade.  This parade is the oldest and the largest civilian parade.