Published February 14, 2008
The festivities of St. Patrick’s Day abound in Georgia. In Atlanta, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade was first held in 1858 by the Hibernian Benevolent Society. Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is even older, dating back to 1813 and is the second largest in the country. Thousands of people march in both parades, and revelers enjoy the festive air. But what many forget is that the holiday came out of dire situations: the horror of famine and religious persecution, the sorrow of leaving one’s homeland and the challenge of building new homes in a foreign land.
The Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade Committee is sponsoring an essay contest for high school students to examine and expand on the continued significance of St. Patrick’s Day.
Students are encouraged to look at the meaning of St. Patrick’s Day from new perspectives: historical, religious, sociologic, folkloric, cultural or multicultural. Students can share their familial or community histories, stories and customs, whether or not they happen to be Irish.
Top prize is $1,000 for the winner and $250 each for two runners-up for a 1,000-word essay on “The Meaning of St. Patrick’s Day.” The winner will be announced on Saturday, March 15, at a Dignitaries Breakfast and will be an honored guest at the 150th Year Celebration of the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Essay entries will be judged by a committee headed by professor James Flannery, director of the W. B. Yeats Foundation and a member of the Irish Studies program of Emory University. All entries become the property of Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade, Inc.
The submissions deadline is March 1. Mail essays to: Dr. James Flannery, Director, W. B. Yeats Foundation, Winship Professor of the Arts and Humanities, Emory University, 1655 North Decatur Road, Room 105, Atlanta, GA 30322. Submissions can also be sent by e-mail to email@example.com. Those entering the contest should provide contact information with the essay.