Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green. (History Channel)

The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City. Ever since 1762, there has been a St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York, so it’s the longest running St. Patrick’s Day parade.

On Tuesday, March 15, the Irish flag was raised high over New York City’s Bowling Green, 255 years after the very first St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place there in 1762. Read more at Irish Central.

The parade route goes up Fifth Avenue beginning at East 44th Street and ending at East 79th Street. Approximately 150,000 people march in the parade which draws about 2 million spectators. More information about this event is available at NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, the saint’s religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century.  What was at first an Irish religious celebration is nowadays celebrated by people of all backgrounds, especially throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.

Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia. More information about the history of Saint Patrick’s Day is available here.

You may be interested in the Telegraph’s photo gallery of St Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world and the National Geographic’s Top 10 Grand St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations.

You may also be interested in reading about The 19 most surprising places around the world to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Parades are held all over the world and people go all out, wearing green clothes and accessories, preparing green foods and beverages, singing and dancing, and going on pub crawls.

The revellers  wander about the streets in all manner of green clothes, hats and hair,  turning urban landscapes green and some  cities  even dye  the rivers and streams green.

However, green was not the first colour associated with St. Patrick, so just how did green come to represent this holiday? Watch this video to find out. And you may also find the following article interesting:  St. Patrick’s Day: There’s meaning beneath all that green.

To find out more about Saint Patrick, the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, see Encyclopædia Britannica.