Each year on March 17th, many people, Irish or not, enthusiastically celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.
In New York, typically known as a fashion capital around the world, the day is distinguished from all others as the city transforms to a sea of green and shamrocks. Sidewalks are filled with people adorned from head to toe in their best Irish fashions and accessories from authentic kilts and sweaters to “I’m not Irish but kiss me I’m cute” t-shirts, shamrock antler headbands and facial stickers; all making their way to 5th Avenue for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Here, people young and old, from lawyers and business executives to college students and toddlers, have shed their normal routines (and maybe a vacation day) to celebrate the holiday with two million others in a rowdy and energetic crowd.
This year’s parade, however, is honoring more than Saint Patrick. It is honoring women in several different ways, which gives all of us at Webster even more of a reason to celebrate!
Today, the 77 women who were captured, detained, and sentenced at Richmond Barracks during the 1916 Irish revolution (yes, to add to Ireland’s already amazing export list of Guinness, Gaelic football, and Liam Neeson, are some very courageous women), will be honored. They refused to flee and save themselves from capture or execution, these 77 women took a stand in a way that is unfortunately not highlighted in history books.
This year also marks a leap year tradition that will have you questioning the typical marriage proposal story. Irish folklore is full of wonders and it is St. Patrick who started one of the most well-known. Since the 5th century, a leap year marks the time in which a woman can be the one to ask a man to marry her. It is rooted in the story of how St. Brigid of Kildare complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait too long for men to propose. While some of you may be worrying about rejection, do not fret, it is customary in some upper-class European societies that when a man rejects a woman’s marriage proposal, he must provide her 12 sets of gloves to hide her shame, and lack of diamond ring.
So this St. Patrick’s Day, in between your commute and probable celebration during happy hour, remember that today is not only a day for Saint Patrick, but also a day for women. Women today, as they have done in the past, are still proving that they can take up arms and fight for what they believe in. If today is your first Saint Patrick’s Day in NYC, enjoy it, it is going to be an interesting one. You may also end up with a diamond ring of your own soon, or at least 12 pairs of gloves.
Be safe and enjoy the celebrations!