St Patrick’s Day: is it national holiday?

With all the cities that hold St Patrick’s Day festivities, you would think it would be a national holiday in the US and wherever else you find the Irish diaspora, but alas it is not. St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is commemorated on 17 March as a public holiday there, but outside the Emerald Isle only in a few other places do workers have a day off.

Besides, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland both the Republic and Northern, the only other place that celebrates St Patrick’s Day as a true public holiday is Montserrat, “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean.” But St Patrick is not the island’s patron saint, nor in Newfoundland and Labrador where provincial government employees get a day off.

Of the other places that call St Patrick their patron saint, including Nigeria and Puerto Rico, only some workers in Boston and Suffolk County get to kick back and enjoy the day, but it is not thanks to St Patrick. The public holiday celebrates Evacuation Day, commemorating when British troops were ousted from the city in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. Like most national and local public holidays in the United States, most workers still need to go about their daily business or find a way to get the day off.

Read more from AS USA: St. Patrick’s Day: meaning, origin and why is it celebrated on March 17?

St Patrick’s Day celebrations

Depending on where you live St. Patrick’s Day festivities and parades take place on weekends around 17 March, usually Sunday.

The biggest celebrations in the US are held in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Savannah. With the exception of Chicago, their strong Irish communities have been celebrating the canonized priest for two hundred-plus years.

The most Irish city in the US

Although not as big as New York, Boston has the largest percentage of its population claiming Irish ancestry. A full week of events will culminate on Sunday 20 March for the St Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston, locally known as “Southie”. The massive parade will start at 1 pm and even though case numbers are down, given the unpredictability of covid-19 it will follow a shorter route this year.

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