Four Leaf Clovers on All Four Corners
By Jason Jourdan
Aside from green beer, Irish-inspired clothing, shamrock shakes, and parades, St. Patrick's Day celebrates more than 1,500 years of tradition for Irish Catholics and revelers of all stripes. March 17 honors the 5th-century death of the English-born saint. Captured and sold into slavery by Irish raiders as a youth, Patrick discovered faith through adversity. After six years of forced servitude, he entered the priesthood and eventually returned to the land of his captivity as a missionary.
St. Patrick is widely known for his efforts to bring the Irish people into the church and banishing all snakes from an island nation already devoid of the creatures! St. Patrick's Day has become synonymous with the pausing of Lenten traditions as Irish Catholics, and everyone else with a penchant for green enjoys a day of drinks, dancing, and parades! Irish Government Ministers travel to various countries to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with other leaders while promoting Ireland. The most recognized of these visits is when the Irish Prime Minister visits the US President either on or near the official holiday.
This year marks the first official St. Patrick's Day Parade celebrated in Ireland since the global pandemic. Historically, the streets of Dublin, Ireland are host to nearly 500,000 revelers each year! The merriment of March 17 features Irish music, singing, dancing, and plenty of Gaelic games, including:
- Gaelic Football
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
Tourisme Montréal identifies the city of Montreal as the home of one of the biggest and longest-running St. Patty’s parades in North America. Since 1824, the event has included drink tastings, cooking classes, and pub crawls. Also, the St. Patrick's Society Singapore holds a grand ball and parade filled with folks in green!
Other nations have adopted their own St. Patty's Day traditions. Citizens of Brussels, Belgium, are known to break out the green whenever Manneken Pis's statue ('Dutch for Little Pissing Man') dons an Aran jumper, flat cap, green trousers, and a shamrock rosette each year to honor Ireland’s patron saint. Travel Magazine has their list of the top five St. Patrick’s Day celebrations across the globe:
1. Dublin, Ireland
2. Chicago, USA
3. New York City, USA
4. Sydney, Australia
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Interestingly, Buenos Aires is home to the fifth largest Irish population globally. Their St. Patrick's Day fiesta includes live music and a variety of food and beverage vendors. The festivities culminate in a parade and costume contest to determine the best-looking leprechaun and fairy. The City of Chicago is host to one of the most famous and visually arresting events. Each year, the community dyes the Chicago River bright green! It began in 1962 when city pollution workers devised a means of tracking sewage waste in the river with vegetable dye. The green color inspired them to implement the process on March 17 in honor of the city's St. Patrick's Day celebration.
St. Patrick's Day celebrations transcend continents and cultures as people from every walk of life embrace a bit of Irish flair. It's common knowledge that green clothing is necessary to avoid playful pinches from friends and family. Pinching by anyone else should be referred to the proper authorities or HR!
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