ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world was held in St. Augustine 420 years ago today.
The first recorded parade honoring the Catholic feast day of St. Patrick in the New World was held in St. Augustine.
Records show that a parade was held March 17, 1601, in the Spanish colony, which was under the direction of the colony’s Irish vicar, Ricardo Artur. New York City held its first parade in 1762.
Fifty-one years after that, Savannah members of the Hibernians Society marched to the Independent Presbyterian Church for the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in that city. The Savannah parade became the third-largest in America after New York and Chicago. (Due to the pandemic, neither St. Augustine nor Savannah is holding parades this year.)
“The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States did not occur in Boston or New York,” University of South Florida professor Michael Francis wrote for PBS. “Rather, those who first gathered to venerate St. Patrick and process through city streets included a blend of Spaniards, Africans, Native Americans, Portuguese, a French surgeon, a German fifer and at least two Irishmen, who marched together in honor of the Irish saint.”
Hopefully everyone will be able to celebrate their Celtic culture and heritage in 2022.