Young girls don Irish-inspired dresses as they participate in New York City's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 16.

Editor’s Note: This page has been retired and is no longer being updated.

CNN  — 

Here’s a look at St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on March 17 every year.


St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Corned beef and cabbage is a staple at many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in America.

Saint Patrick

St. Patrick is called a Christian missionary and the Apostle of Ireland.

Patron saints are chosen to protect the interests of a country, place, group, trade or profession, or activity, and to intercede for them in heaven.

St. Patrick is responsible for converting the people of Ireland to Christianity.

385 AD - Born in Britain, but is not Irish.

At 16, he was brought to Ireland as a slave.

He escaped six years later and became a priest.

Following a vision, he returned to Ireland to Christianize the Irish people.

He is credited with having driven the snakes out of Ireland. However, most biologists maintain there never were snakes in Ireland.

March 17, 461 AD - St. Patrick dies.


March 9, 2020 - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the head of the Irish government, announces that a number of Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day parades are being canceled over fears the mass gatherings would contribute to the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

January 20, 2021 - Parade organizers announce that Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will be canceled a second year in a row due to coronavirus concerns.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday with banks, stores and businesses closing for the day.

It has primarily been celebrated as a religious holiday.


1737 - The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States is held in Boston.

According to the US Census, 30.4 million US residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2019.

In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is primarily a secular holiday.

New York City Celebration

March 17, 1762 - The first official parade in New York City is held.

March 17, 2002 - 300,000 marchers and three million spectators make this parade, honoring the heroes and victims of 9/11, the largest parade to date.

March 17, 2011 - The 250th New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held.

September 4, 2014 - The organizers of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade announce the first ever LGBT group to march in 2015 under their banner. It represents an end to a ban on openly gay groups in the parade.

March 11, 2020 - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces that the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is cancelled for the first time in over 250 years amid fears of the coronavirus outbreak.

2021 - According to the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade website, the 2021 parade will be held virtually due to coronavirus concerns.

The parade is held on March 17, unless March 17 falls on a Sunday. When this happens, the parade is held on the 16th.

The parade marches up 5th Avenue, from 44th to 79th streets. It is often called the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Chicago Celebration

March 12, 1955 - The first St. Patrick’s Day parade is held.

March 11, 2020 - Organizers announce that the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled because of coronavirus concerns.

February 2, 2021 - Organizers announce that the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled for a second year in a row due to coronavirus concerns.

If the 17th falls on a weekday, the parade is held the Saturday before.

The Chicago River is dyed green, with a secret recipe, and the parade begins at noon at the corner of Balbo and Columbus Drive.


Legend has it St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity, by showing an unbeliever the three-leafed plant with one stalk.

Shamrocks are the national flower/emblem of Ireland.