Ireland has given the world many things: the cure for leprosy, colour photography, hard-living storytellers, and creamy black stouts that pour hypnotically into tall pint glasses. It’s no wonder the world is always raring for the chance to be Irish, at least for a little while, on St. Patrick’s Day.
More than just a day to dress up as a leprechaun and chug pitchers of green beer, St. Patrick’s Day is a significant cultural and religious celebration that remembers the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. According to popular legend, he used a three-leaf shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the pagans, allowing him to successfully convert all of Ireland into Christianity.
Here’s a look at how the world will celebrate the Irish on this day in 2019, sláinte:
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Having the fifth largest Irish community in the world, Buenos Aires knows how to rock the shamrock on St. Paddy’s. Every year on March 17, the Retiro District celebrates La Fiesta de San Patricio with plenty of dancing and live music on the streets. The party spreads out from Reconquista Street in Microcentro with a parade of Irish dance troupes, marching bands, and revellers in costumes making their way toward Plaza San Martin. Irish pubs and local restaurants in Retiro also welcome patrons with dark beer and traditional Irish fare.
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Although not the first place that pops into mind when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Montserrat is the only Caribbean island that recognizes it as a national holiday. Montserrat, having once had a significant Irish Catholic population, is known as the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean”. Today, the island celebrates St. Paddy’s with a weeklong Festival of Independence commemorating the end of slavery. The celebration features both Irish and African-Caribbean festivities that range from masquerade reenactments of slave uprising to calypso competitions. Visitors entering the country on this day will also receive a shamrock stamp on their passports.
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The Sydney St Patrick’s Day parade and festival is back @therocks where it all began 40 years ago…If you would like to dress up and be part of the fun please complete an application form (link in bio) and email to firstname.lastname@example.org Applications close: 1st March 2019 #StPatricksDay2019 #SSPD19 #Sydney #SydStPatricksDay19 #GetInvolved
Sydney brandishes the tricolour flag proudly at The Rocks, a harbourfront neighbourhood where Irish immigrants first settled in the country. It’s also the place for a few pints of Guinness at The Mercantile, the city’s most iconic Irish pub, along with several other local favourite watering holes serving green Heineken. This year, the city plans on turning the area into an Irish village, filled with traditional dancers, food stalls, activities, and live music.
Charmed by the Irish, Japan also joined in on St. Paddy’s Day fun in 1992. Since then, Tokyo has celebrated the day with a weekend of festivities. This year, an Irish cultural festival will be held at Yoyogi Park, complete with traditional arts and crafts stalls, beer booths pouring Irish stouts, and tables serving beef stew and steamed oysters. The event ramps up in the afternoon with a parade of bagpipers, drummers, and dancers marching along Omotesando Shopping District just outside Harajuku Station. During the festival, expect revellers to dress up as leprechauns, wave tricolour flags, and enjoy hurling and other cultural activities with shamrocks painted on their faces.
Londoners commemorate the saint every year with a three-day-long celebration that begins at Trafalgar Square. The festival features Irish folk music, ceilidh dancing, film festival, walking tours, and a street food market. The big bash culminates with a parade of floats, bagpipers, and marching bands making their way around Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly and Haymarket. But the ruckus doesn’t stop there. Many bars and pubs are serving Irish stouts, whiskey, and traditional fare for the occasion. The London Eye also lights up in emerald green for the entire weekend.
New York City, USA
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I could not get to this year's New York St Patrick's Day parade, so I have to post one of last year's photos. Happy St Pat's. #stpatricksday #stpattysday #stpatricksday2017 #irish #ireland #irishforaday #irishfortheday #stpatricksdayparade #newyorkstpatricksdayparade #nyc #newyork #nypd #wearingofthegreen #green #fun #usa #america #manhattan #fifthavenue
With one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world, New York’s parade route spans across 5th Avenue to 79th street and lasts around six hours. This year’s parade will be held on March 16 and is expected to attract over two-million spectators. The procession of colourful floats, dancers, and bagpipers starts marching along 44th Street and begins a full day of nonstop celebration. The city will also host pub crawls, Irish dances, arts and crafts exhibitions, and literary events through the weekend.
The Windy City is famous for dyeing the Chicago River green every year on the Saturday of the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. This more than 40-year-old tradition kicks off the massive parade that marches north from Balbo and Columbus Drive, east of the river, and travels past Buckingham Fountain. The city is known to host some of the biggest parties in the country that last the whole weekend, and this year will be no different. Expect a busy lineup of live music performances, fireworks, pub crawls, and other family-friendly cultural activities by Navy Pier.
With more than 20 percent of its population having proud Irish roots, Boston is considered the most Irish city in the U.S. Every year, the city hosts its more than 3-km long parade in the predominantly Irish-American neighbourhood of South Boston, or “Southie”. The procession draws millions of spectators each year and jumpstarts a weekend of epic celebrations, including a 5K road race, Irish Heritage Trail walking tour, live music cruises, and pub crawls. But no St. Patrick’s Day bash is complete in the city without the annual Dropkick Murphys rock concert at the House of Blues.
Toronto’s St. Patrick’s Day parade starts a week early around March 10 every year. The cavalcade of drummers, cartoon mascots, dancers and bagpipers march along Bloor Street to the south of Yonge Street before stopping at Nathan Philips Square. This year, parade organizers are hosting the annual Grand Marshal’s Ball at the Steam Whistle Brewing on March 8 that features live music programs, cocktail reception, and traditional dance performances. Various parties, concerts, pub and club crawls are also held across the city throughout the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Montreal’s annual parade has been held on the Sunday closest to St. Patrick’s Day since 1824. As one of the oldest celebrations in Canada, the event enjoys a mix of traditional and modern fanfare that include a giant Saint Patrick float, marching bands, and costumed dancers. After the parade, the party rages on at its many iconic Irish pubs and bars like McKibbin’s, Hurley’s, the Irish Embassy Pub & Grill and many others.
For Ireland’s capital city, St. Patrick’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the country’s rich heritage. Many of the city’s landmarks turn emerald green for the occasion and festivities last for days. Although it’s now known for having one of the most culturally-striking parades in the world, Dublin only launched the event in 1931. Today, the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival marks five straight days of celebrations filled with carnivals, walking tours of historic sites, concerts, and outdoor ceilidh dances. If you visit the city during this week, expect Guinness and Irish whiskey to flow generously at every pub and bar, along with many green-clad locals eager to party on the streets.