March: A Month Full of Events!
March has so many events, what's your favorite? Here's some of ours!
When you think of March, what do you think of first? St. Patrick's Day? Dyngus Day? National Puppy Day? Personally, I think of Mardi Gras. With the huge parades, colorful beads, and gorgeous attire, it is truly an outstanding holiday. No matter if you're young or old you can have fun during Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras is a time for music, parades, picnics, floats, and mainly excitement! The people dress in elaborate costumes of purple, green, and gold and deck themselves in long beads obtained by the parade floats. There are also performers with flambeaux (flaming torches). While it was originally used to light up the parade at night, it is now considered an art form.
Mardi Gras has its beginnings in medieval Europe traveling through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. It celebrates spring and fertility. Then, on March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville traveled to around 60 miles south of New Orleans, and declared it "Pointe du Mardi Gras", because it was the eve of the holiday. Later, in 1703, the United States celebrated its first Mardi Gras in Fort Louis de la Louisiane.
New Orleans was established in 1718 by Bienville and by the 1730’s, Mardi Gras was being publicly celebrated. However, it was not the same as it is today. In the 1940’s the governor of Louisiana at the time, Marquis de Vaudreuil, threw elegant balls.
The first time Mardi Gras "Carnival", as we know it today, was in 1781. It was the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association who were the first of many clubs and carnival organizations to be formed in New Orleans. By the late 1830’s the holiday was celebrated in the streets with maskers with carriages and horseback riders. Then, in 1856, the first Mardi Gras float was made by the Mistick Krewe of Comus.
Mardi Gras is a time for friends, family, and joy. It’s something that people wait all year for and it never disappoints. It is definitely on my bucket list to travel to New Orleans to experience this fabulous event one day!
- Cayla Karabanowski
On Sunday, March 20th, 2022, the United Irish American Association will once again host the Buffalo St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The theme for the parade this year is, Hail to St. Patrick! God Bless America & Support Our Troops. Honor Our Frontline Workers". The parade kicks off at 2:00pm on Delaware Avenue near the McKinley Monument and will head north to North St. Grand Marshall for the parade is Patrick D. McGuiness of Lockport, who has been waiting since 2020 for this honor. Covid restrictions caused the 2020 and 2021 St. Patrick’s Day Parades to be cancelled.
According to a 2014 Buffalo News article by Anne Neville, Irish immigrants have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the United States since the American Revolution, but the first record of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Buffalo was March 16, 1848, sponsored by The Friendly Son’s of St. Patrick’s Society. According to the article, that parade lasted for nineteen years, and several attempts were made over the years to revive it. The United Irish American Association has claimed ownership of the parade and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Buffalo since 1940. “So it should be no surprise that Buffalo, where local historian and author Ed Patton said around 40 percent of the population was Irish in 1848, had robust St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, which included Masses, dinners, speeches and musical events.” Much like the earlier celebrations, this year they will celebrate mass prior to the parade in St. Joseph’s Cathedral at 10:30 am.
In addition to the parade, many businesses and organizations will be hosting and sponsoring events as well. You can find those here.
March is one of the craziest, fun-filled, exciting months of the year, especially for people who love basketball. St. Patrick’s Day arrives, the warmth is just starting to come back; but that is not the best part, it’s all the March Madness. The NCAA Basketball Tournament brings happiness, laughter and upsets to some people and teams. Every Division 1 Basketball team in the country plays to eventually make it to the Sweet Sixteen on the bracket, in hopes of being the new NCAA Basketball Champions. The term "March Madness," used to describe the excitement surrounding basketball tournaments at Illinois State High School, first appeared in print about sixty years ago. Founded by Henry W. Porter, who began his career as a teacher and coach at Athens High School in downtown Illinois. The crazy part is this year March Madness is will be at Buffalo. The city of Buffalo is gearing up to host the first and second rounds of the 2022 men's NCAA tournament. Those will take place at KeyBank Center on March 17 and 19. This is the opportunity our hotels, our restaurants, our attractions to really show off what Buffalo can do in that 90 minute to two hours, because 19,000 people are going to leave that arena and they are going to be looking for a burger and a beer and a place to stay warm.
Another March tradition the Western New York embraces are Fish Fry Fridays! A good portion of the 40 days of Lent occurs in March every year. Catholics around the world celebrate Lent by giving up something they love like sweets, alcohol or video games for 40 days. Another Lent tradition abstains from eating meat on Fridays. Therefore, Catholics love Fish Fry Fridays in March!
Inspired by the British fish and chips, Fish fries have been a Cathloic tradition since the early 1900s. Western New York is only outmatched by Wisconsin and Ohio in fish fry consumption. A seafood distributor, Channel Fisheries in Boston, states that 3 million pounds of fish are distributed between Albany and Buffalo each year. Fish fries are so popular in Western New York, that they are no longer confined to Cathloic churches. You can expect to see fish fries at local restaurants and pubs every Friday in March!