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St. Patrick's Day began as a religious holiday in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. A national holiday in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is also a celebration of Irish culture. This latter meaning is the primary focus of St. Patrick's Day celebrations throughout the Irish diaspora.
In the United States in particular, St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of Irish ancestry, or "Irish roots". A significant number of Americans claim Irish heritage. In 2013, for instance, 33 million US citizens, or ten percent of the population, claimed Irish ancestry. Boston, Massachusetts holds a large St. Patrick's Day parade every year to honor the Irish heritage of many of its citizens. Nearly a quarter of Massachusetts residents claim Irish ancestry.
Irish Americans. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 21, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Americans#Sense_of_heritage
St. Patrick's Day. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 21, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick%27s_Day