St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17th all around the world and honors Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick. Grab your favorite green outfit and join me as we take a walk around the world and explore how an unassuming Irish holiday has spread around the world and become an international occasion.
Bright Green Roots
In Ireland, St. Patrick’s day celebrations begin with large parades through the streets of Dublin and other cities. The parades feature colorful floats, marching bands, and dancers in traditional Irish dress. People gather in pubs and restaurants to watch the parades. Traditional foods such as boiled bacon and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and soda bread are served. The tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day comes from Irish legends about leprechauns. Leprechauns are believed to be out in force on St. Patrick’s day and would pinch anyone that they could see. People would wear green to make themselves invisible to leprechauns thus protecting themselves from being pinched. Today the tradition continues of pinching those who are not wearing green is also a way to remind them that they are not following tradition. One of the most iconic symbols of St. Patrick’s day is the shamrock, a three-leafed plant that St. Patrick is said to have used to explain the Trinity to the Irish people. It is a common sight to see people wearing green clothes, hats, and accessories on this day. The tradition of pinching someone who isn’t wearing green also dates to the early 1700s.
Celebrations Around the World
More than 200 countries around the world join in on the celebration of St. Patrick’s day. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. Cities across the country hold parades, festivals and other celebrations in honor of the holiday. Some of the most notable celebrations are held in New York, Boston, and Chicago. One of the most famous nods to how Ireland is the dying green of the Chicago River. For more than 60 years, tons of dye have been poured into the river to dye it that signature emerald green that we associate with St. Patrick’s Day. Savannah, GA and San Antonio, TX have similar traditions of dying local bodies of water for the holiday. These celebrations attract visitors from around the world. These cities and more host large parades, and people wear green clothing to show their Irish pride. Local bars and restaurants change their menus to serve traditional Irish dishes and drinks like corned beef and cabbage and Guinness for the occasion. Across Canada, cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver also host St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivals. Toronto’s parade is one of the largest held outside of Ireland. And the many local Irish Pubs are a great way to enjoy Irish music and food for the holiday. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated mostly in several major Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The festivities include parades, concerts, and sporting events. Many Irish pubs serve traditional food and drinks, and St. Patrick’s Day is considered one of the biggest days for beer sales in Australia. Next, let’s head to South America and visit Argentina. Buenos Aires is home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in South America. The city hosts a parade and festival to honor the holiday. Japan is a recent addition to the countries celebrating St. Patrick’s day, holding parades and festivals in Tokyo and Osaka. As you can see, what may have started as an Irish holiday has become a worldwide celebration.
I hope you enjoyed this brief exploration of St. Patrick’s Day. So don’t forget to wear green this St. Patrick’s Day to keep the Leprechauns away. If you want to learn more about St. Patrick’s day, check out the links below: