img_2665You can’t avoid the fact that it’s parade season here in the Pioneer Valley. All things Irish are in full force with the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day parade coming to town this Sunday, March 19. It’s one of my favorite events of the year and I love all of the preparation that goes into the event. I love the community feel, the Irish heritage, the local pride.

I’m proud to carry the official Holyoke St. Patrick’s Tartan in the shop here at Cooper’s. There are only a few places around the valley you can find it and we’re proud to stock the neckties, scarves and corsages. It’s a beautiful tartan — and registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans. Have you ever wondered where the colors come from? According to the site:

[It was] designed in 2002 by Gerald D. Healy (2002 President) & Ralf L. Hartwell Jr for the Holyoke St Patrick’s Committee in Holyoke Massachusetts which is home to the second largest St. Patrick’s parade in the USA. Colours chosen: red, white & blue from the US flag; green white and gold from the Irish flag and the Parade Committee; green & white from the Holyoke Community College; purple & white from the Holyoke High School; green and gold from the Holyoke Catholic High School and black & gold from the Dean Vocational High School.

What distinguishes tartan from plain old plaid? Well a tartan design is specifically created for a particular clan. In this case, the Hoyloke clan. According to the insert that comes with each tartan piece sold:

The Irish People were more inclined to wear the Tartan of the Country where their families originated. Our objective in creating the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Tartan was to duplicate the Irish tradition and allow us to identify fall that is good about Holyoke. The colors selected came from: the American flag; the Irish flag, the Parade Committee; Holyoke Community College; Holyoke High School; Holyoke Catholic High School; and Dean Vocational High School. The amount of color in a tartan is not as significant as having the color represented. Some colors are easily identified while other are more difficult. For example: the blue from the American flag can be found where the blue crosses the purple; the gold (orange) of the Irish flag can be found where the red crosses the gold, and the black from Dean High School can be found where the red crosses the purple. The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Tartan having successfully completed all the requirements for international tartans has been awarded certificate #5772.

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Please wear the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Tartan in sound health and always with dignity and pride as it represents all that is good about Holyoke. All proceeds from the sale of tartan products will be used to offset the expenses of presenting the annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

See you at the parade! #holyokepride