Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. He was born in Roman Britain but was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave when he was 16. Saint Patrick eventually escaped his enslavement but later returned to Ireland to bring Christianity to the country.
The Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day for over a thousand years in observation of the death of Saint Patrick in the fifth century. St. Patrick’s Day takes place during the Christian season of Lent. As an added treat on St. Patrick’s Day, Lent prohibition against the consumption of meat was waived. Traditionally, Irish families would celebrate St. Patrick’s day by attending church in the morning and celebrating in the afternoon with drinks, feasting, and dancing.
Leading up to the mid-19th century, the majority of Irish immigrants in America were members of the Protestant middle class. In 1845, in the wake of the Great Potato Famine, nearly 1 million poor Irish Catholics came to the United States in an attempt to escape starvation. These immigrants struggled to find even menial employment under disdain for their religious beliefs and unfamiliar accents.
To fight back against the prejudice they faced, Irish immigrants began to organize to utilize the political power provided by their growing numbers. Their vote later called the “green machine,” became an important swing vote for politicians. St. Patrick's Day parades grew in prevalence and became a show of strength for Irish Americans and an important event for political candidates to attend. In fact, President Harry S. Truman attended New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1938.
Boston claims to be the location of the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the American colonies on March 17, 1773. That day, two dozen Irish immigrants gathered to honor Saint Patrick by forming the Charitable Irish Society to assist struggling Irishmen in the city. There is also evidence of an older St. Patrick’s Day celebration that took place in 1600 in the form of cannon blasts or gunfire to honor the saint and that the following year, residents of the Spanish garrison town processed through the streets, marking the first-ever St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The holiday is now celebrated worldwide, and many of the traditions that surround St. Patrick’s day celebrations today originated in the United States. Every March 17th in the United States, people wear green clothes and celebrate with traditional Irish food, parades, bagpipers, step dancers, and many green-dyed foods and drinks, including green beer, green milkshakes, and green bagels. Chicago even dyes its river green every year.
Today, 33 million Americans claim Irish heritage. St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate that heritage and perhaps to remember that nearly every citizen of the United States is descended from immigrants.
Our team here at Visa Business Plans, featuring many individuals who are immigrants themselves, is proud to join in the celebration of St. Patrick’s day, and we look forward to continuing to assist the next generation of immigrants. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner looking to start a business in the U.S., call us today to discover more about how Visa Business Plans can help you meet your goals.
Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in 4 different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from The University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.