Luck of the Irish

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I have never quite understood the phrase, “Luck of the Irish.”  Does that mean good luck or bad luck?  Well, I guess a bit of both were at work at New Haven’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade today.

The green stripe marks the parade route, which went right in front of my building

The green stripe marks the parade route, which went right in front of my building


The good?  Two full hours of parading bands, dignitaries, hawkers, skaters, truckers, beauties, bagpipers, politicians, noise makers, marchers tossing candy to the kids, and the guy in a weird costumes.

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A gryphon?

A gryphon?

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The bad: 6 degree windchill.  That’s hundreds and hundreds of red ears and ruddy cheeks of marchers choosing vanity over warmth.  Brrrr, the bare knees of bagpipers and bare shoulders of the St. Patrick’s Day Queen–?



Which brings me to the existential questions.

Why does a patron saint need a queen?  Or was this before strictures about marriage in the Catholic Church?  Or was Saint Patrick not a religious person (I’m showing my ignorance here)?2014-03-16 14.17.57

Aren’t bagpipes Scottish?  And who originated the fife-and-drum marching band?

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Why, in a parade devoted to the patron saint of Ireland, are most of the marchers military, along with every high school band?  What’s with all the American flags?  Bands playing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic”…what about “When Irish Eyes are Smiling?  Is this really just July 4 in mid-March?

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Where are the Pope and all the bishops?  What about the monks and nuns?  Now, that’s a parade I want to see!

But who doesn’t love a drum band?

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2 thoughts on “Luck of the Irish

  1. Good questions! I wondered about the kilts and bagpipes myself. Here in Chicago, they turn the river green. It’s madness!

  2. Great photos. I don’t mind the patriotic touch. We stood on Fifth Ave in Manhattan one March and watched the whole St Patrick’s Day parade there and it was a colorless scene except for the green. Your at least had something to pep up your eyesight.
    the cold doesn’t sound appealing.

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