The History of St. Patrick’s Day in Buffalo

Buffalo is known for its St. Patrick’s Day celebration; however, residents may be celebrating in September instead.

The history of Saint Patrick's day continues to live through the community of Buffalo each year.

 Buffalo, a historical city, has rescheduled one of its many traditions, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

As the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day approaches, the people of Buffalo always become more and more excited to share in the joy that is St. Patrick’s Day. However, a surprising number of Buffalo residents do not know the extensive history and rich culture that comes with the infamous parade that is celebrated every year.

Buffalo has a rich history when it comes to Irish immigrants as many came and settled in Buffalo in order to have a more fulfilling life filled with hope and opportunities. 

Irish immigrants started making their way to the Northeast region of the United States, including Buffalo, around the early 1800s. At this time, Buffalo was thriving economically and was continuing to grow in population and size due to its beneficial location along the Great Lakes, and the beginning of the construction of the Erie Canal which would make transport and trade across New York a whole lot easier. 

Irish immigrants that came and settled in Buffalo at this time were crucial to the economic and structural development of the city due to their willingness to work and their devotion to opportunity. Through all of the challenges, the hardwork and dedication of Irish immigrants to a city they were new to was incredible.

Despite the time and effort put in by Irish immigrants in the early 1800s and into the mid 1800s, Irishmen brought rich culture and tradition with them into the city. These immigrants tended to settle along the water at what is known now as the Old First Ward in South Buffalo, and their solidarity amongst each other brought out their long lasting impact on the traditions Buffalo holds for St. Patrick’s Day. 

One of the largest and most well-known traditions that Buffalo has kept is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade that Buffalo held was on March 17, 1913 when Irish residents in Buffalo wanted to show their pride in their heritage and culture by parading with signs, flags, floats and clothes that represent their culture. Originally, the parade was a religious event to celebrate St. Patrick and the traditional holiday, and the Irish immigrants in Buffalo saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate their pride in their heritage so that they could be well respected among people in Buffalo for their contributions to the Erie Canal and the economy.

Today, the St. Patrick’s Day parade has become a spectacle that thousands of people all around Western New York attend. The parade consists of floats, dancers, music and culture to celebrate what it means to be Irish in the City of Buffalo. Unfortunately, this year, the parade was cancelled due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, but in an effort to live out the rich culture that the parade provides every year, it has been rescheduled by the City of Buffalo for September 19, 2020. 

Hopefully, the spirit and culture that the Irish immigrants brought to Buffalo all those years ago will continue to be a memorable tradition in Buffalo for years to come.

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