On March 17, everyone is a little Irish. Even though Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, his name will be celebrated with parades and festivities worldwide this Friday. Today the holiday’s popularity is global, spreading far beyond the Emerald Isle. For example, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just a national holiday in Ireland, it’s also a national holiday on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean, a tiny island with around 4,000 inhabitants which became home to many Irish emigrants in the 17th century. St. Patrick’s Day has blossomed into a festival of events worldwide and has recently become a major calling card for people across the globe to come to Ireland for a few days of legendary “craic” and to experience the famous Irish welcome. It’s no surprise to us that the Lonely Planet counts Ireland in the top ten friendliest places to visit in the world.
“céad míle fáilte”; a hundred thousand welcomes.
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland – as the legend goes, he brought Christianity to the island, made the shamrock fashionable and banished the snakes from Ireland. The holiday has been observed as a religious holiday in Ireland for over 1500 years.
The world goes green for St Patrick’s Day
It’s green as far as the eye can see. We’re not just talking green pints of Guinness, we even have national landmarks, fountains, and rivers (Chicago Riverwalk between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive) turning green in honour of Ireland’s patron saint. Here are some of the landmarks that are going green for St Patrick’s Day.
Check out the above video for tips on going green for St Patrick’s Day.
Here’s a look at how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world:
Faces painted, People in green =) Photo: Kids at St. Patricks Festival, Dublin, Ireland
— Luiz Santos (@kazenotenshi) March 23, 2016
Ireland’s capital city is home to the biggest St. Paddy’s Day celebration in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets, decked out in wild and fantastical green costumes to celebrate. The parade route in Dublin today is more than 3 kilometres long. It starts at Parnell Square and finishes up just past St Patrick’s Cathedral. It will be viewed by 500,000 spectators in the city and watched by more than one million more on television and the internet.
Japan’s capital city has hosted St. Patrick’s festivities since 1992. Tokyo’s parade is unique because it was primarily organised by people who aren’t Irish. The Parade in Omote Sando, Tokyo is organised by the Irish Network Japan, and is attended by Irish people and other expatriates, including up to 2,000 English teaching assistants. Even the Tokyo tower is illuminated green.
New York City
New York hosts the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration, with more than two million people gathering for the city’s grand parade on March 17. The very first St Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York in the 1760s. There are around 34.5 million Americans who list their heritage as either primarily or partially Irish.
One of the largest celebrations in the southern hemisphere takes place in Sydney, Australia. With over 80,000 people attending the Parade for what is the fourth largest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world after New York, Dublin and Boston. The Sydney Opera House turns green for St. Patrick’s Day and so does the rest of the city.
Ahmed the elephant statue at Nairobi’s national museum has been turned green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Obvs pic.twitter.com/EZyjxVMXow
— Clare Spencer (@clarespencer) March 17, 2016
St. Patrick is also the patron saint of Nigeria. The first official St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Nairobi were held in March 2015. The famous Ahmed elephant at the Kenya National Museums was branded green to mark St. Patrick’s Day.
There is nothing quite like being Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. From all of us here at SRI Executive, even though our HQ is in Dublin our network of clients is spread across the globe. From Alaska to Zimbabwe, no matter where you are on March 17th we hope you wear your shamrocks with pride. From us to you, a very Happy St Patrick’s Day.