Savannah, Georgia’s St Patrick’s Day Parade prefers you keep your distance if you’re showing your love for the troops this Saint Patrick’s Day.
Every Saint Patrick’s Day parade has its own traditions, from the green dye put in the river in Chicago to Mass in St Pat’s Cathedral before the New York parade but the March 17 festivities in Savannah, Georgia, this year could see the end to one of the most loved St Patrick’s Day traditions in the area.
It had become custom for the mothers, wives, girlfriends, or other significant others of the soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division, who are based at nearby Fort Stewart, to run up to their soldier as they passed through on the parade route and to plant a kiss on them as they walked. The aim was to leave them with a pink or red lipstick mark to sport throughout the rest of the march.
As the tradition become more popular, the number of people who wished to take part increased also and so while it was initially a practice only for those who knew the soldiers, it eventually led to those who happened to be wearing bright lipstick, and who also had a penchant for military men, taking part.
On Saint Patrick’s Day 2018, however, the Savannah parade organizers have asked that attendees do not attempt to run onto the parade route and to kiss the soldiers, citing safety issues as their main concern. The army has also requested that the tradition come to an end, believing that professionalism of the soldiers should be more respected.
“Really the worldwide situation, terrorism, you just don't want people running out to active military,” parade committee grand chairman, Brian Counihan said.
“It's a fun thing, but it puts them on edge and it could be a danger.”
“The military doesn't want it to happen. We don't want it to happen. Just do the right thing," Counihan continued.
“You don't want someone running out there kissing your wife or momma so treat them the same way.
“Today's times, keep an eye out. If you see something suspicious, go to a policeman and tell them. Otherwise, just go have a good time.”
"They need to look like #soldiers when they march, they need to look professional. It's hard to look professional as a soldier with red #lipstick on your cheeks. Red lipstick is not part of the #uniform."https://t.co/Rv1FOSUB3f— WSB Radio (@wsbradio) March 9, 2018
Although there’s no exact punishment for those who decide otherwise and do run out, police officers on hand will be told to stop it from happening.
Savannah’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade is one of the oldest in the US, first being held back in 1824. It’s claimed that up to a million people attend each year, the biggest being in 2012 with 380 groups marching.
What are the traditions of your Saint Patrick's Day Parade? Anything weird or wacky? Let us know in the comments section, below.