Every year March 17th rolls around, we all wear green so we don’t get pinched and we all read “kiss me I’m Irish!” (even though most of us aren’t), but do we really know why we celebrate this random holiday? Saint Patrick’s Day originated in Ireland to celebrate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. But how is celebrated in other countries?
In Ireland, you may think this day would be celebrated by drinking tons of beer and spending time at the pubs, but you are entirely wrong. I mean, yes some people go out and get a drink or two, but people mainly celebrate at church and have festivals like many other countries do. The week around March 17th is usually dedicated to speaking more irish than usual. Some Christian churches believe that Saint Patrick’s Day should be reclaimed as a church festivity.
Argentina celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by having everyone gather downtown near the Irish pubs. In Buenos Aires, thousands of people, up to as many as 50,000 get together and take part in the partying.
Up north in Canada there are many different celebrations in many different cities such as Manitoba, Vancouver, Quebec, and Toronto. Most cities have festivals that can last up to a week at a time. In Toronto, the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team was known as the Toronto St. Patricks from 1919 to 1927 and wore green retro uniforms. There is also a large parade in downtown Toronto which over 100,000 people attend.
Citizens of Great britain like to attend horse races on this day. There is also a huge parade held in Birmingham where there is a two-mile route for the floats. It is considered the third largest parade in the world next to New York and Dublin. Music, cultural events, and parades are also happening during this time in Liverpool because it has the highest percentile of Irish residents.
Parades relating to Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated throughout the whole month of March.
The St. Patrick’s Society of Selangor has celebrated Saint Patricks Day since 1925 by hosting an annual St. Patrick’s Ball, the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Asia. Many parties across the country are coordinated and thrown during this time as well.
Saint Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Russia since 1992, but ever since 1999, ther has been an international Saint Patrick’s Day festival in Moscow and other popular Russian cities. There are two parades during this festival: the official and the unofficial. The official parade is made up of military men and is performed with collaboration with the Moscow government. The unofficial parade is more silly and made up of volunteers who do stunts like walking on stilts and juggling.
The Irish Association of Korea has celebrated this holiday since 1976 with parades and festivals.
Celebrations in Switzerland don’t vary much from its neighboring countries in Europe. While St. Patrick’s Day is commonly celebrated on March 17th, most students get together St. Patrick’s Day Eve and bring food, beverages, and dress in traditional shamrock green.
Photo Credit: http://thefoodduo.com/the-green-top-10-10-vegan-things-to-do-on-st-patricks-day/