St. Patrick’s Day occurs annually on March 17 in observance of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Traditionally, the festival was a religious feast-day in 17th century which has now evolved into a celebration like no other.
St. Patrick’s Day is today celebrated across the globe and festivities differ from country to country. The idea behind every celebration is, however, the same all over the world — to celebrate Irish culture with parades, traditional foods, music, dance, and a whole lot of green.
Read on to learn more about this amazing Irish holiday.
The Irish have observed this day (March 17th) as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast – on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
Since around the 9th or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast-day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly the first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States! On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving within the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.
These days, thanks to globalization and multi-culture communities, people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day regardless of their nationality or religion. This can be seen throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia, and smaller celebrations are held as far as Japan and Singapore. The festivities include parades, events, musical shows, food festivals, drinks and much more.
In modern-day Ireland, the Irish government began a national campaign to use interest in St. Patrick’s Day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish language and culture to the rest of the world. Approximately 1 million people annually take part in Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows.
Home to the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in South America, Buenos Aires hosts an annual street festival in the heart of the city. This event features music, dance performances by Celtic Argentina, and lots of beer shared among family and friends.
Australia welcomes over 80,000 people every year for the biggest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the southern hemisphere, and the only celebration outside of Ireland sponsored by the Irish government. Every year, there is a massive gathering of people wearing green in order to celebrate the Irish culture. The massive gathering often features concerts, family activities, crafts from local artisans, parades with marching bands and traditional Celtic dancers.
As the largest city in the New Zealand Daylight Time zone, Auckland is always the first to initiate the global celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrations comprise of gala dinners, dances, athletic championships and a remarkable parade to see off the festivities until the next year.
Like the emerald Chicago River, the Singapore River is dyed green for the largest St. Patty’s Day celebration in Southeast Asia. Attendees don green and orange costumes, and a motorcycle convoy lead a vibrant parade through the city streets. The St. Patrick’s Society of Singapore also throws an annual ball complete with Irish dancing, live music, and plenty of Irish brews.
A short walk away from one of Istanbul’s most vibrant nightlife streets, the city’s Irish center hosts a lively festival as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Featuring Irish dance, music, traditional Irish dishes such as fried tomatoes and soda bread, and of course, Irish beer, this venue is renowned for its colorful atmosphere and authentic Irish fare.
St. Patrick’s Day is huge in the U.S, celebrating the long-standing Irish-American culture, when many Americans with Irish ancestry remember their history. Celebrations concentrate on Irish themed parties, drinks and food. Many people get into the spirit by dressing in green clothing and eating green colored food. Irish clubs and pubs often hold parties or have special deals, with large street parades, plus it’s very common to see water dyed green in public places! Remember images of Chicago River in 2005?
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