Donald Trump

St. Patrick's Day Parades Were the Cinco De Mayo Festivals of 18th-Century

We're all mongrels on St. Paddy's Day (and the rest of the year, too).


In 2006, Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs, then with CNN, made a splash when he declared, "Let's be clear. I don't think there should be a St. Patrick's Day." Why the hell should we be celebrating anything other American holidays, he asked, anticipating the rise of Donald Trump's economic and ethnic nationalism by a decade. Ever since returning to cable after a brief sojourn in Space (, that is), Dobbs has trafficked in populist attacks on illegal immigration (and most forms of legal immigration, too).

Today is, of course, St. Patrick's Day and many cities across the country mark the day with a parade that blocks traffic and congregates drunks who have not one drop of Hibernian blood pulsing in their veins along with alcohol metabolized from green beer. I've celebrated St. Patrick's at least once in some of the "Irish" cities in the country (Boston, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago) and many times in New York. The essential fact about St. Patrick's Day in America—and especially St. Patrick's Day parades—is that it's not at all about being Irish, despite trappings that indulge in the worst sort of Darby O'Gill and the Little People-style ephemera. The first St. Patrick's Day parade wasn't held in Dublin or Belfast, but in Manhattan, in 1762. In fact, it took until 1903 for St. Patrick's Day to be more than a Catholic holy day of obligation in Ireland; the first St. Paddy's Day parade in the Old Sod took place the same year.

Stick that in your $4.35 leprechaun clay pipe (+ shipping) and smoke it. The point of the 18th-century parade in New York was to show solidarity in the face of English social, economic, and political power. It turns out nothing is more purely American than ethnic identity politics. Remember that when Cinco de Mayo rolls around and on Pulaski Day (look it up), and remember it, too, on Columbus Day as well. One of the ways we show that we're truly American is by recalling real and imagined hardships that our ancestors faced and over which they triumphed. And by letting others join in the legacy, even if that legacy is reduced to drinking until you puke.

That's a lesson worth remembering in the 21st century, especially the day after President Trump, who wants to put America first, just hosted Ireland's prime minister and read what he took to be an old Irish proverb but actually seems to be some doggerel written by a Nigerian banker.

"As we stand together with our Irish friends," said Trump, "I'm reminded of proverb, and this is a good one, this is one I like. I've heard it for many, many years and I love it. 'Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue. But never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.'"

It's OK, President Trump. Everyone—and everything—is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

In 2010, Reason TV documented why immigrants come to America:

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  1. read what he took to be an old Irish proverb but actually seems to be some doggerel written by a Nigerian banker.

    He read an email in John Podesta’s inbox?

  2. As much as I love St. Patty’s day and celebrating my 1/8th Irish heritage, I firmly believe that green beer should be banned.

    1. I always think that on the 18th

    2. Maybe you should stop drinking beer that can be dyed green. I’ve never seen green Guinness.

  3. some doggerel written by a Nigerian banker.

    Great scoop, Irish proverb experts of Twitter!

    1. Yeah, that’s pretty hilarious.

  4. anticipating the rise of Donald Trump’s economic and ethnic nationalism


  5. The parades are ALSO retarded.

    1. All parades are kind of retarded, aren’t they? There’s a Norwegian parade in my neighborhood every year. All the little old ladies that moved out to Long Island a hundred years ago flock to SW Brooklyn and listen to bagpipes. Lots of bagpipes.

      1. Just a bunch of idiots on floats causing traffic problems. I see no need for me to respect anybody’s heritage. Celebrate whatever you want…just don’t fuck with my life in doing so.

      2. All parades are kind of retarded, aren’t they?

        Not Mardi Gras parades. They throw you stuff for free that you can exchange with drunk women in exchange for glimpses of their tits.

        1. Ah, a parade with a purpose.

        2. “They throw you stuff for free that you can exchange with drunk women in exchange for glimpses of their tits.”

          This has been happening for a while now at the South Boston St. Patty’s Day parade, where throwing green beads will get you a view of saggy Irish titties, that often droop down below the waist.

  6. Isn’t green beer bad enough, what color beer will the Mexicans force on us!!!!!!!!

    1. Tricolored?

    2. Well, Corona is basically the color of sickly urine…

      1. Uh, most beers are the color of sickly urine…

        1. However, many of them also taste better than sickly urine.

  7. Come to Paddy’s Pub voted worst bar in Philidephia and home of the Kitten Mittens.

    1. We’ve got cock fights, and Motley Crue. And we don’t have a sign, so good luck finding the place.

  8. Screw the Irish.

    This year I may celebrate my ancestors on October 6th (German American Day) and occupy the offices of my co-workers of Polish descent.

    1. You are forgetting occupying the cubicles of your French, Dutch, Belgian, Norwegian, Greek, etc. co-workers.

      1. But first they need to enlist their Russian co-workers to join them.

  9. What’s the difference between Martin Luther King Day and St. Patty’s Day?

    Everyone thinks they’re bloody Irish on St. Patty’s Day.

  10. It’s been a few years, but this one never gets old so here it is again…..age-video/


      1. Say what you want, white people never troll the local newscasters with such professionalism.

  11. As someone with part Irish heritage, I’d just like to say that celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by drinking a lot is a bit like celebrating Martin Luther King Day by smoking crack.

    In other words, you’re basically channelling an unflattering stereotype of Irish people as alcoholics.

    If you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s day PROPERLY, you should watch some films about the British occupation of Ireland, THEN get drunk, then go find a British pub and get into a fight.

    1. I’m 1/4 Irish myself and i don’t give a damn how anyone else celebrates St. Patrick’s Day.

      1. I’m 1/2 Irish and I don’t care about anything.

        1. I’m 1/4 Irish and I’m more hammered today than usual.

    2. Most Irish don’t consider it unflattering.

  12. Everyone?and everything?is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

    Except for the gays and the Italians.

  13. Trump admin member says a thing, Twitterverse, predictably, loses its mind:

    “Literally just shouted ‘NOBODY SAYS THAT’ at the TV,” a journalist in Ireland tweeted. “I’ve literally only ever heard that said by Americans,” another person said.

    Jacksepticeye could not be reached for comment.

  14. Since st Pat’s day was only a regular saint’s day in the Catholic calendar back in Ireland, this brings up another reason why it’s like the 5 de mayo: the latter is not celebrated in Mexico for any reason at all. Most people don’t even know what happened on the 5 de mayo to celebrate. Somehow this date was appropriated by Mexicans in the US as a national day, which it isn’t in Mexico. I’ve never understood why, since the 16th of sept is the official nat’l day in Mexico and it’s a perfectly good reason to celebrate Mexican nationality because it refers to the nation’s independence from Spain. The 5 de mayo simply commemorates a battle won by Mexicans against the French, who went on to win the war and conquer the country in the 1860s.

    So the 5 de mayo is a ridiculous celebration of identity politics for sure; but it’s much more ridiculous than that because, according to Mexican history, there is no reason at all to celebrate Mexican identity on that day.

    1. Except for tequila.

      1. Tequila is every day. Because it doesn’t make you drunk. It makes you understand.

  15. St. Patrick was Italian. Shouldn’t there be green white and red flags flying with the green white and orange flags?

    Corned beef, cabage, and pasta too?

    1. St Patrick was born in the British Isles. What the hell are you talking about?

  16. It turns out nothing is more purely American than ethnic identity politics. Remember that when Cinco de Mayo rolls around

    High, is Nick ignorant about conco,de mayo being an American contrivance, and not an actual Mexican holiday at all?
    Says a little t about his level of knowledge regarding Mexicans and their migration into America.

    on Columbus Day as well.

    You mean the former holiday celebrating the grnocidal racist? I guess Nick doesn’t realize that holiday doesn’t work in the diverse America he advocates.

  17. So… Wait… No one whines about non Irish people celebrating this day but if it’s Cinco de mayo it’s appropriation? I’m so confused. I mean both of them are basically made up holidays for us usa peeps to drink right?

  18. Cinco es Sunko? ?Ay, caramba!

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  20. As much as I love St. Patty’s day and celebrating my 1/8th Irish heritage, I firmly believe that green beer should be banned madalin stunt cars

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