St. Patrick’s Day recap

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From putting on parades to dying rivers green, Saint Patrick’s Day traditions are everywhere.

Millions gathered to celebrate the life of Saint Patrick, an Irish missionary who used the three-leaf clover to teach about the Holy Trinity.  Yesterday, people in Dublin watched as colored floats, bagpipers, and marching bands made their way through the city. This St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the world’s largest.

New York City had their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday.  The weather was chilly but that did not stop the crowds from gathering on Fifth Avenue to show their Irish pride.  An estimated two million people from all parts the world came to New York for this event.

In Chicago, a plumber’s union dyes the Chicago River green. The 51-year-old tradition has its roots in efforts to detect illegal sewage dumping into the river. The dye turns green in the presence of toxic sludge.

Chicago is not the only place with green H2O. The White House showed a little St. Patrick’s Day spirit yesterday by dying their fountain green.  The President plans to hold a traditional St. Patrick’s Day reception for Ireland’s Prime Minister tomorrow night.  This will also include a shamrock ceremony, a tradition that started with President Truman.

Shanghai celebrated the big day with singing, dancing, food, and fun.  The crowds came out in all different shades of green to show their holiday spirit.

Finally, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got in on the action.  Duchess Kate Middleton passed out shamrocks to soldiers from the First Battalion Irish Guards.  This English tradition has been around since 1901.

Pinching people who don’t wear green is actually an American tradition that started in the early 1700′s. People thought wearing green made you invisible to the leprechauns, who they believed would pinch anyone they could see.  Pinching other people was a way to remind them to put on the green and stay away from the leprechauns.

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