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First St. Patrick's Day Parade Was in St. Augustine, Florida, Not New York


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Where the first St. Patrick's Day parade REALLY took place: Historical texts reveal revelers took to the streets in FLORIDA over 100 years before celebrations in New York and Boston

  • New York has long been credited with having the first St. Paddy's parade, in 1766
  • Recently discovered texts now indicate the first was actually in St. Augustine, FL
  • Gunpowder expenditure lists from 1600-1601 describe revelries for 'San Patricio'
  • Worship of St. Patrick was likely introduced by Irish priest named Richard Arthur

 

 

An entry from a gunpowder expenditure list made in the year 1601 describes revelries in the streets of St. Augustine, Florida to honor the feast day of ‘San Patricio.’ Worship of St. Patrick was likely introduced by an Irish priest by the name of Ricardo Artur (Richard Arthur)

An entry from a gunpowder expenditure list made in the year 1601 describes revelries in the streets of St. Augustine, Florida to honor the feast day of ‘San Patricio.’ Worship of St. Patrick was likely introduced by an Irish priest by the name of Ricardo Artur (Richard Arthur)

 

He may be the patron saint of Ireland, but the raucous celebrations that have now come to be associated with St. Patrick didn’t get their start in the Emerald Isle.

 

It's been thought St. Patrick’s Day observance in the US began to spring up in the early 1700s with feasts, religious services, and charitable events in New York and Boston that largely mirrored traditional practices seen in Ireland.

 

But, toward the end of the century, the first annual parades began to emerge along the East Coast.

 

While New York has long been credited as having the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade, when Irish soldiers in the British Army organized in 1762, a recent discovery suggests the first actually occurred more than 150 years earlier, in a city 1,000 miles away.

 

Historical documents from the Florida city of St. Augustine now stand as evidence of the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US, according to a researcher from the University of South Florida.

 

The first reference comes from the year 1600, with the simple mention of a celebration for ‘S Patricio’ on a gunpowder expenditure list from St. Augustine.

 

And, another entry made the following year describes revelries in the street to honor the feast day of ‘San Patricio.’

 

‘It was certainly a surprise,’ said historian J. Michael Francis, PhD, University of South Florida-St Petersburg, who uncovered the document.

 

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