St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated differently in many places around the world. And each country puts its own unique spin on this festive day, created to celebrate those of Irish heritage. Here are some various ways that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated here and abroad.
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) is the most Irish-centric holiday of the year. St. Patrick (AD 385-461), the patron’s saint of Ireland. The holiday was created in the early 17th century to commemorate the death of Ireland’s patron saint.
Historically, St. Patrick was a 5th century missionary who was credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland (even though there’s no record that the Emerald Isle was ever home to those slithering, scaly creatures). According to tradition, St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) to the uninitiated. The shamrock is now one of the most recognizable symbols of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish pride in general.
Even though the holiday traditionally falls during the middle of the Catholic observance of Lent (a time of self-sacrifice, with restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol), special dispensation is typically granted, so that spirits can be consumed without guilt.
Here’s how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in America and around the globe.
The largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in South America takes place in the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires. The city is home to the 5th largest Irish community in the world. The musical and artistic festivities are typically held in the chic and artistic Retiro district of the city.
Over 80,000 people attend the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Sydney, the most populated city in Australia. What makes the Australian festivities unique is that they’re funded with support from the Irish government itself. Sydney’s events only last one day, but in Perth, the occasion is celebrated with a week-long series of activities.
How can we leave out the capital (and largest city) of Northern Ireland? Needless to say, St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in Ireland. The city, ironically, is attempting to rebrand the festivities to be non-alcoholic. “Sober St. Patrick’s Day” is an attempt to radically change the perception of this centuries-old holiday as one that doesn’t need alcohol to fuel its festivities.
The second-biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States (after New York) is in Bean Town. The parade traditionally starts in South Boston (or known by locals as “Southie”) and typically attracts about one million spectators a year.
Dyeing the Chicago River green is one of the top St. Patrick’s Day traditions observed in the Windy City. The dyeing typically takes place the weekend before the parade.
One of the unique ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is in Copenhagen. Danes put a special spin on the classic three-legged race. Instead of lining up on a grassy field and run in a straight line. Danes dash to the nearest Irish pub, down a pint (each participant must down at least a half a pint at each pit stop) and move on to the next pub. All proceeds from this three-legged pub crawl go to charity.
London’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities typically kick off from Green Park in Piccadilly and continue to Trafalgar Square. The giant Ferris Wheel in Hyde Park is lit in emerald green for the occasion.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Mumbai’s (formally known as Bombay) Gateway of India is lit up in a luscious emerald green, with the pubs in India’s capital city stocked up with Irish stout.
New York City has one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world. This six-hour parade attracts more than 150,000 dancers, musicians, and other performers. The parade has been a New York tradition since 1762.
[Source: AM New York]
St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal on this small Caribbean island. But they’re not celebrating St. Patrick and his exploits. This year is the 248th anniversary of an unsuccessful slave revolt against European colonists in the 17th century. Seven out of ten colonists were Irish. St. Patrick’s Day kicks off a week of festivities celebrating the island’s independence.
Irish ex-pats gather at Oslo’s Jernbanetorget, Norway’s largest transit station, to start their St. Patrick’s Day parade, the largest such festivity in the country. Since 2009, the parade has grown to become an ethnically diverse celebration.