Céad Míle Fáilte -- A Hundred Thousand Welcomes -- from the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade tradition was born in New Haven on March 17, 1842, when about 90 members of the Hibernian Provident Society, a mutual aid organization formed the previous year, marched through the city streets behind a banner made especially for the occasion.
Lovingly sewn into the banner were traditional Irish depictions: St. Patrick in his bishop’s robes, an Irish wolfhound, a harp, shamrocks, and a portrait of Gen. Richard Montgomery, the Irish-born hero of the American Revolution. As Joan Moynihan and Neil Hogan, authors of “Images of America: New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade” explained, the banner had two mottos which bespoke the dual loyalties of the marchers: “e pluribus unum” and “Erin go bragh.”
Since the mid-1950’s the St. Patrick’s Day Parade of Greater New Haven has become one of New England’s premier Irish events. It is the largest, single-day spectator event in the State of Connecticut. As the 6th oldest parade in the nation, its fame was recognized by the Library of Congress in 1999. This keepsake of New Haven’s Irish community became a national keepsake when the Library of Congress selected the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade as an outstanding example of American folk life.