Exploring the History of St. Patrick’s Day in Milford;

How the History of St. Patrick’s Day Affects the Celebration of Culture in Milford.


Photo of Downtown Milford Connecticut: Photo courtesy: Lauren Ardolino, February 21, 2021.

Lauren Ardolino, Staff Writer

     Irish bread, shamrock cookies, and celebratory parades are all components that fall on the date of March 17. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been a continuous event that occurs every year, besides the year of 2020 and 2021. This parade celebrates Irish heritage and acknowledges the death of Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland.

     St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in multiple states and cities across the nation, that have people with Irish descent. This holiday spread to America through early Irish settlers who migrated to the colonies and brought their annual traditions with them. The migration of Irish settlers influenced the United States to partake in festive traditions. 

     For instance, the New York City St. Patrick’s Parade is the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. The first parade was held on March 17, 1762. Two hundred and fifty two years later in 2014, the American Community Survey estimated that some 33.1 million Irish Americans were living in the United States at that time. (Gale Global Issue) 

     Focusing on Milford, Connecticut specifically, St. Patrick’s day has a big impact on the community. This holiday influences many residents to come together and celebrate Irish culture. Marty Hardiman, the chairman of the Milford parade states, “The month of March is the beginning of the Irish spring, full of Irish music, dance and large family gatherings.” 

     Hardiman knows a large amount of information about the holiday’s history in Milford. He states, “The Saint Patrick’s day parade was started by two women, Maureen Birge and Carol Snider in 1990 in Milford. I got involved in 1996 with the Hyatt family and became the Chairman a couple of years later. The parade in the beginning was about an hour long and now it runs about two and a half hours.” The parade in Milford is a long lasting event that showcases multiple groups and floats to represent the spirit of the holiday. 

     Hardiman says that he continues to raise money and adds groups from New Haven and Brideport to march in the parade yearly.

     Mr. Michael McCabe, an active member of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Milford states, “I have marched in the Parade every year since 2007, and I was Grand Marshal in 2018. I consider it the beginning of spring in Milford. It’s the first time that everyone comes out of winter hibernation and gathers together for a good time outside.”

     The Milford St. Patrick’s Day parade is a large monumental event that affects many people emotionally. During this holiday, many Milford residents are touched and excited during the celebration, the parade creates a happy environment that encourages individuals to celebrate their Irish heritage and create everlasting memories.

     Junior, Courtney Musante states, “The Milford environment changes greatly around St. Patrick’s Day, taking into account those who celebrate the holiday and those of Irish descent. The city transforms displaying Irish flags, and many local restaurants have traditional foods. The highlight is the parade with lots of colorful characters, Irish bands, dancers, bagpipers, floats and plenty of Irish cheer.” 

     Musante states that her favorite part of the holiday is the food, and learning about the Irish culture. Musante also says, “On St. Patrick’s Day my family and I usually attend the parade. We also eat corned beef, Irish cabbage, and soda bread.” 

     Junior Bridget Kiernan states, “My family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by placing decorations around the house.” She also says, “The environment of Milford changes during St. Patrick’s Day because during a normal year, there is a parade, people come together to celebrate, and everything is decorated in green.” Kiernan’s favorite part of the holiday is wearing festive colors and celebrating.

     However, due to Covid-19, there will sadly be no parade happening this year. Yet the celebration will still live on throughout the community. This year, St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated through an event titled, “Shamrocks on the Green.” This event is a fun, socially distant celebration of Irish descent in Milford. It will consist of driving through downtown Milford, and viewing decorated Shamrocks. 

     These shamrocks can be purchased, decorated, and displayed for the celebration. Viewers can also take a walk through the green, while being socially distant, and enjoy the shamrocks. By purchasing shamrocks, individuals will be able to support Irish culture, charitable events, and literacy needs in our community. This event is co-hosted by the Irish Heritage Society and the Literacy Volunteers of Southern Connecticut. It occurs on March 1 and is a great event to stay distant, and allows the decorated shamrocks to gather together.