AP PHOTOS: Boston celebrates St. Patrick’s Day; Biden holds White House brunch with Irish leader

U.S. President Joe Biden and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar spoke during a St. Patrick’s Day reception in the East Room of the White House on Sunday. The two countries were celebrating a century of diplomatic relations.

BOSTON (AP) — While some American cities celebrated St. Patrick’s Day a day early this weekend, Boston, one of the most Irish cities in the country, held its parades and festivities on Sunday, or March 17.

Crowds of green-clad revelers lined the streets for the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which typically draws about 1 million people. It not only celebrates the city’s Irish heritage but also Evacuation Day, commemorating the evacuation of British troops from Boston during the Revolutionary War.

When Aidan Richardson began attending school in Worcester, Massachusetts, friends insisted they had to attend the Boston parade.

“It’s a great time so far,” said the native of Rochester, New York. “When I grew up I was told I was Irish, then all of the sudden last year I found out I was Scottish. I still love it.”

In Washington, President Joe Biden held a St. Patrick’s Day brunch for Catholic leaders in the East Room on Sunday. The room was decked out for the holiday, with an Irish flag, shamrocks and green and gold tablecloths. Guest seating cards were written in Celtic-looking green lettering.

Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, attended the event with his partner, Matthew Barrett.

Biden, a devout Catholic who is exceedingly proud of his Irish heritage, said he was grateful to Varadkar for spending time with him on the holiday, and he thanked the Catholic leaders for their humanitarian work.

“Welcome, everyone, to St. Patrick’s Day at the White House,” Biden told the crowd. The president also hosted a reception later Sunday.

In Boston, other St. Patrick’s Day events were also taking place around the city, including a memorial Mass and a boxing tournament. Long-running Boston punk band Dropkick Murphys was set to play the first of its back-to-back St. Patrick’s Day concerts.

Crowds also lined the streets Sunday for the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Kansas City, Missouri, weeks after a rally honoring the Super Bowl champion Chiefs was marred by a deadly shooting.

April Coleman spent Sunday passing out green beads and cavorting family and friends. She acknowledged that the shooting wasn’t completely out of her mind, but she said she didn’t want to live in fear — and skipping the large gathering was out of the question.

“I still want to come out and have fun with good people,” she said.