Happy St. Patrick’s Day – the annual holiday when Americans celebrate all things Irish. It began in New York City with immigrants from Ireland for the first time honoring their religious patron saint at the Crown and Thistle Tavern 261 years ago today. (Lenten restrictions on drinking alcohol are officially lifted among Christians for this day.) The city’s 255-year-old St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the biggest parade in the world. (1756)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • The rubber band was invented (1845)
  • The Kingdom of Italy was founded (1861)
  • A showing of 71 Vincent van Gogh paintings in Paris, 11 years after his death, created a sensation (1901)
  • The Camp Fire Girls was founded (1910)
  • The National Gallery of Art opened in Washington, D.C. (1941)
  • Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Brussels, a precursor to the NATO Agreement (1948)
  • A referendum to end apartheid in South Africa was passed by 68.7% of voters (1992)

Photo from parade in Albany, NY, by sebastien barre, CC