St. Patrick's Day celebrations across the world
St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday this year so the annual tribute to all things Irish will be celebrated in cities worldwide on the day of the March 17 holiday, as well as the day before, with a few events taking place the weekend prior. These seven parades and celebrations are among the world's largest and heartiest — don't forget to wear green.
St. Patrick's Day is a legal holiday in Ireland, the island where it all began centuries ago. But the Irish spread the St. Patrick's Festival over five days (March 14 – 18), with 34 events ranging from street music and theater to Irish dancing and storytelling — and of course, a huge parade. Green lights illuminate the city's most iconic buildings and monuments, and yes, the Guinness flows fast and furious at Dublin's pubs.
New York City
The Big Apple turns green each year for its St. Patrick's Day Parade. Since 1762, it's grown into the world's most populous parade, with about two million annual spectators. The March 16 parade (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) follows Fifth Avenue between 44th to 79th Street, with the final 20 blocks alongside Central Park on the Upper East Side. This is a people's parade, with no floats or vehicles but with 200,000 people choosing to march or dance in the parade rather than watch.
Chicagoans start celebrating in the early hours of the morning on March 16 — followed by the massive Columbus Drive parade (12 – 3 p.m.) through Grant Park that draws a million spectators. Before the parade, a tradition for 174 years, is the more recent tradition of the river dyeing, when eco-friendly green dye is poured into the Chicago River at 9 a.m.
Argentina may seem like an odd place for a big celebration of Irish heritage, but a half-million Argentines have Irish blood, and Buenos Aires has the world's fifth-largest Irish population. Like the Irish, South Americans know how to celebrate, and they do it in the Argentine capital with a parade and street party on March 17 that literally spills over into March 18. Ten city blocks are shut down for the music and dancing that last for hours after the short parade.
America's oldest city parade debuted in 1737, when George Washington was a 5 year old. It is not on downtown streets, like most parades, but through South Boston where so many of the city's large population of Irish-Americans live. These “Southies" are among the throngs of more than a half-million who will watch the 40-block-long parade beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, on the holiday, but one day after Bostonians celebrate the holiday at Irish bars.
Three years after the 1849 gold rush that brought thousands to San Francisco, the Irish-Americans among them organized the first St. Patrick's Day Parade. The parade has marched on ever since as the largest Irish celebration in the American West. About 100,000 will watch 5,000-plus parade participants march up Market Street on March 16 at 11:30 a.m., followed by an Irish cultural festival at the parade's end point at Civic Center Plaza.
Savannah — population 145,000 — will swell to several times that size during its St. Patrick's Day Parade (March 16 at 10:15 a.m.). You can credit typically mild weather and a 193-year tradition for its popularity, but there's more. On March 9, there's a new festival that will be taken over the past Tara Feis events and will be called the Celtic Ceol Feis in downtown Savannah's Emmet Park. This will be a family oriented event that showcases the Irish culture and heritage in this city. And on March 15 – 16, Savannah's River Street and City Market host a music-filled St. Patrick's Day Festival that rocks till midnight nightly.
If you can't get to Mars, what's the next best thing? Apparently Iceland. A team of renowned explorers and researchers recently journeyed to Iceland to test a Mars analog suit in a Martian-like environment.
The United sponsored expedition, led by The Explorers Club — an internationally recognized organization that promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air and space — and in partnership with Iceland Space Agency, involved the team venturing inside the Grímsvötn volcano and across the Vatnajökull ice cap. The group traveled to the remote location and lived for six days in the Grímsvötn Mountain Huts and endured harsh weather conditions and unstable terrain.
Helga Kristin Torfadöttir, Geologist and glacier guide, using the LiDAR system to map the ground and test the suit's capabilities on the glacier.
The objective of the mission was to explore the potential of concept operations at the Grímsvötn location while testing the suit in an arctic environment similar to what would be found on the surface of Mars. "This mission was an important test of the design of the MS1 suit, but it was also incredibly helpful to understand the how to conduct these sorts of studies in Iceland," said Michael Lye, MS1 designer and NASA consultant and RISD professor. "No matter how thoroughly something is tested in a controlled environment like a lab, studying it in a setting that accurately represents the environment where it will be used is absolutely essential to fully understand the design."
The suit was designed and constructed by faculty and students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with input and guidance from members of the HI-SEAS IV crew and NASA's Johnson Space Center Space Suit Engineering team. At 50-60 lbs, the suit is similar to what a planetary exploration suit would weigh in Martian gravity. The suit was originally designed to be used in the warm climate of Hawaii, however the martian climate is much closer to what would be found on top of the glaciers in Iceland. The data collected will inform the future of habitat and spacesuit design that can be used to train astronauts on Earth.
Today, we remember the colleagues, customers and every single victim of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
I know each of us in the United family marks this difficult moment in our own way. Still, we all share a common commitment to honor how our brothers and sisters left us and also celebrate what they gave to us during their lives. We remember their professionalism and heroism. We cherish their camaraderie and friendship. We carry with us the examples they set forth, especially in the heroism and bravery displayed by so many on that terrible day. Above all, we understand a simple truth: While thousands of our fellow human beings lost their lives in New York City, Arlington and Shanksville, the attacks of September 11th were aimed at all people of peace and good will, everywhere. They were attacks on the values that make life worth living, as well as the shared purpose that make us proud of what we do as members of the United family: connecting people and uniting the world.
We may live in times scarred by discord and disagreement, and we know there are those around the world who seek to divide us against one another. But, on this day – above all – we come together, as one. We affirm our core belief that far, far more unites us as citizens and fellow human beings than can ever divide us.
Let us embody that belief as we go about serving our customers and one another – on this day and every day – as we continue to help building a world that's more united. Let that be our memorial to the sisters and brothers we lost, eighteen Septembers ago.