Officially, St Patrick’s Day takes place on Friday, March 17th. However, the local Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) hosts the 2017 Rockland County St Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 19th. For this year’s parade, the Grand Marshal will literally be following in her father’s footsteps. Carmel Reilly, an active member of the ladies’ AOH (LAOH), assumes the role her father played 43 years ago.
What: 2017 Rockland County St Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Starts at the Pfizer property, ends at Main St
When: Sunday, March 19th, 1:30pm to 5pm
2017 Rockland County St Patrick’s Day Parade
The first local St Patrick’s Day Parade hosted by the AOH took place in March 1963. It was a small affair at first. The parade darted from city to city around the Rockland County area in the beginning before permanently settling in Pearl River in 1974. Over the years, it has morphed into the second biggest parade in the entire state.
For more than four decades, the AOH has organized this tribute to Irish heritage on the Sunday following St Patrick’s Day. As in years past, the 2017 Rockland County St Patrick’s Day Parade starts at the Pfizer property. Participants proceed along Crooked Hill Rd until they get to Middletown Rd. From there, they continue on to Central Ave. Finally, they end up at Main St.
Come early to find the best view spot for you and your loved ones. Make sure you bring a blanket and/or lawn chair for comfort. Make sure you check the weather report before you go, too. This parade happens come rain or shine.
Origins of St Patrick’s Day
Would it surprise you to find out that St Patrick wasn’t actually Irish? In fact, he was born and raised in Britain. When he was a teenager, he was abducted by Irish raiders. He spent six years in captivity, finding his Christian faith to be his only solace. It is believed that this is when he decided to convert the people of Ireland to Christianity. Over the years, he incorporated traditional Irish culture into his Christian teachings. The date of his death (March 17th, 460 AD) became the day we would come to know as St Patrick’s Day.
Who do we have to thank for St Patrick’s Day? Franciscan Friar Luke Wadding, that’s who. A strong Irish nationalist, he fought for Irish causes throughout his career. Even though the day had been observed since the 10th century, Wadding succeeded in having the Catholic Church recognize it as an official feast day. This helped catapult it into a day of celebration around the world.
The 2017 Rockland County St Patrick’s Day Parade comes from a long-held American tradition. Yes, the first St Patrick’s Day parade wasn’t held in Ireland. Boston, in fact, was the first city in the entire world to host a parade to honor St Patrick’s Day in 1737. New York held what would be known as the “official” first St Patrick’s Day Parade in 1766. Ireland didn’t come on board until 1903 in Waterford, where Luke Wadding was from. Dublin joined in with their first parade in 1931.
I’d like to leave you with a little Irish blessing. May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you and heaven accept you. Happy St Patrick’s Day!
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