New case study: Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Around the World

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!

Or, for you non-Irish speakers, happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s the day when people around the world (including half of Americans) wear green and hope to capture a bit of the “luck of the Irish.” This celebration of Irish culture and history got its start in 1631 as a religious holiday honoring the life of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The holiday takes place annually on March 17, believed to be the date of St. Patrick’s death in the late fifth century.

Today, the holiday is a secular celebration internationally. Festivities include parades, dancing, and special foods and drinks. The biggest of these celebrations is the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, the world’s oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States

It’s perhaps apt that U.S. cities like New York, Boston, Savannah, and Philadelphia are so closely associated with the day’s celebrations – the first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in America, not in Ireland. It’s a tradition that continues to grow – an estimated 150,000 people march in the NYC extravaganza, with two million spectators cheering them on. Elsewhere in the U.S., the Chicago River will, in a 60-year tradition, have 40 lbs. of green dye added to it, creating an emerald ribbon winding its way through the heart of the city.

Elsewhere in the world, the feast of the Irish saint is celebrated in countries with significant Irish populations and, more and more frequently, in countries wishing to take part in the festivities. Countries like Japan, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates all join in with their own spin on things.

Helping spread some Irish cheer worldwide is Tourism Ireland, the agency responsible for marketing the island of Ireland to travelers. We’ve worked with the organization for years, even taking part in their food tour of Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, the home of ModSquad’s European Operations Center. Last year, through their Global Greening initiative, 670 landmark buildings and sites in 66 different countries were turned green. Tourism Ireland has been growing this event since its 2010 launch, when the Sydney Opera House and Auckland’s Sky Tower were bathed in an emerald glow.

Chances are, there’s a St. Patrick’s Day celebration going on near you. If you’re heading out to partake in some yummy food, savory drinks, and rousing celebrations, here are some facts and figures about the holiday to pepper into your conversation:

  • The holiday was historically viewed as a religious observance in Ireland. Until the 1960s, there were even laws forbidding bars from opening on that day.
  • St. Patrick’s Day became an official public holiday in Ireland in 1903.
  • Early Irish traditions included a meal including cabbage and Irish bacon.
  • Dublin’s first official celebration of the holiday did not take place until 1931.
  • The symbol of St. Patrick is a three-leaf shamrock, not a four-leaf clover.

Will you be celebrating today? Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This entry was posted in News and Events. Bookmark the permalink.

Get On Your Soapbox