An annual tradition, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, marking the anniversary of the Irish saint’s death in the fifth century. For the Irish, this is a religious holiday that has been observed for over 1,000 years. Falling during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Moreover, though initially, Lenten prohibitions forbade the consumption of meat, this rule was ultimately waved, allowing people to drink, dance, and enjoy Irish bacon and cabbage, a traditional meal in Ireland.
Despite St. Patrick’s Day’s Irish origins, countries around the world also celebrate the patron saint, each with its unique traditions. Furthermore, with St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching on Friday, this article aims to highlight the different ways various countries take part in St. Patrick’s Day.
Due to its Irish origins, it is no surprise that Dublin, Ireland’s capital, hosts an extravagant four-day-long celebration. The festivities include traditional dancing and dress and a large parade route. Furthermore, restaurants and pubs across Dublin serve classic Irish dishes, such as boiled bacon, cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and pints of Guinness, the world’s best-selling Irish beer. As pubs remain open until 1:30 am, you can undoubtedly expect a late night with a myriad of activities. However, booking your stay far in advance is crucial if you wish to attend Dublin's celebrations, as the festivities typically attract approximately half a million people.
London, United Kingdom:
While the Dubliners are busy partaking in their various activities, one can find another St. Patrick’s Day celebration in full force nearby in London. This year’s celebration took place this past Sunday, March 12, and included more than 50,000 people. It was an eye-catching event with a plethora of Irish dancing, food, and a massive parade featuring music, floats, and elaborate costumes, which ended in Trafalgar Square. However, London’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration continues into the evening with storytelling and Irish folk performances. Finally, the London Eye Ferris wheel, which looks out over the city on the bank of the Thames, is lit up green, allowing the festive spirit to continue throughout the night.
Chicago, United States:
Although St. Patrick’s Day originated in Ireland, it has become a beloved holiday in the United States, with one of the most famous traditions occurring in Chicago, Illinois. Thousands of people gather to watch as the city dyes the Chicago River shamrock green each year. Crews begin this process early in the morning the week before St. Patrick’s Day, and the dye typically lasts for several days, bringing St. Patrick’s Day cheer to all who witness it. In addition, while the river dyeing comprises Chicago’s primary means of celebration, the festivities don’t end there as there are also multiple parades and events that typically draw over 75,000 people.
New York City, United States:
New York City, like Chicago, also hosts an extravagant celebration in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, which began in 1762, has become the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States, drawing over two million people every year. The parade takes place in Manhattan over the course of six hours and includes musicians and over 150,000 dancers. Furthermore, like Chicago, the Empire State building is lit up green during the day.
In contrast to other places around the world like Dublin and the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is a relatively new tradition in Tokyo, as their celebrations began only 29 years ago by Irish Network Japan. Not only does Tokyo host a St. Patrick’s Day parade but also an I Love Ireland Festival during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. According to Live Japan, this year will be the first time in four years that the parade will happen, and it is set to be an extremely spirited event with Irish dancers, bands, and even Irish Wolfhounds and Irish Setters. Of course, everyone will also be sporting green outfits.
Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Buenos Aires strays from the typical parade found in other parts of the world and opts instead for a ten-city-blocks block party in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, better known there as El Dia de San Patricio. One will find fairies, Irish dancers, bagpipers, and costumed elves throughout the block party. Moreover, Buenos Aires is home to one of the largest Irish populations in the world, so Buenos Aires’ St Patrick’s Day celebration is the largest in South America!
Full of music, dancing, drinks, and the color green, St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday full of excitement and fantastic spirit. Suppose you find yourself in the United Kingdom, the United States, South America, Asia, or perhaps anywhere else on March 17th. In that case, a parade celebrating Ireland’s patron saint is likely closer than you might expect. However, in conclusion, if you have yet to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, consider visiting one of these places for the experience of a lifetime!
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