Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Here are some interesting facts about this celebrated day:

St. Patrick’s Day takes place each year on March 17, the traditional religious feast day of Saint Patrick.

The Celebration

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. In 2007, roughly 41.5 billion pounds of U.S. beef and 2.6 billion pounds of U.S. cabbage were sold. Many St. Patrick’s Day celebrants enjoyed corned beef from Texas, which produced 6.8 billion pounds of beef, and cabbage from California and New York, which produced 581 and 580 million pounds, respectively.

Irish soda bread gets its name and distinctive character from the use of baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent.

Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick’s Day parades and celebrations.

The Parade

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.

More than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across the United States. New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations.

At the annual New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, participants march up 5th Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street. More than 150,000 people take part in the event, which does not allow automobiles or floats.

Places to Spend the Day

There are four places in the United States named after the shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland: Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK.

Nine U.S. towns share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. With 39,328 residents in 2005, Dublin, CA, is the most populous, followed by Dublin, OH.

Population Distribution of Irish Americans

There are 36.5 million U.S. residents with Irish roots. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (more than four million).

Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.

Across the country, 12 percent of residents lay claim to Irish ancestry. That number doubles to 24 percent in the state of Massachusetts.

Irish is the most common ancestry in 54 U.S. counties, of which 44 are in the Northeast. Middlesex County in Massachusetts tops the list with 348,978 Irish Americans, followed by Norfolk County, MA, which has 203,285.

Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state except Hawaii and New Mexico. It is the leading ancestry group in Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

A total of 4.8 million immigrants from Ireland have been admitted to the United States for lawful permanent residence since 1820, the earliest year for which official records exist. Only Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Mexico have accounted for more U.S. immigrants.

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