While Dublin is far out of reach for the budget traveller as we get closer to St. Patrick’s Day, that doesn’t mean that celebrating like the Irish do is out of the question. One day of the year, everyone is Irish! Which, of course, makes St. Patty’s Day a global affair.
Where will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today? While traditionally the day consists of attending morning mass and hitting the pub afterwards for a pint or two (or more) it has turned into a full four-day festival complete with fireworks and parades in the Irish capital. Outside of Ireland though, the festivities revolve around beer and everything green!
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world
Around 2000 participants take part in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Japanese capital. More than 7000 come out to enjoy the show with floats, bag-pipes, kilt-wearing gentlemen and of course the ladies. As you can imagine, Guinness goes at a high price in Japan, close to £5 a pint! It’s tradition for the local Irish Pubs (there are a surprising few) to send their prettiest ladies to the parade to hand out “beer vouchers.” Now they’re a highlight!
Toronto hosts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in North America. It’s been a yearly tradition since the late 1980s and includes 2000 marchers, more than 30 floats, 14 live bands as well as its fare share of leprechauns and giant shamrocks. The annual parade takes place on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day whether it’s raining, sunny or snowing (all of which are possible in this Canadian city when spring arrives).
When March rolls around, this Italian city gets ready to celebrate the Irish. It hosts a ten day festival that involve a lot of food, a lot of drink and a lot of music. Italian renditions of traditional Irish recipes are on the table, dishes like potato soup, been marinated in Guinness and smoked salmon. Once the kegs of stout are rolled in, the party begins. Spend your day celebrating the Irish in an unusual way, search for flights to Florence.
Norway is home to a surprising number of Irish, who take the day’s celebrations seriously. There is a parade down the main streets of Oslo, pack Town Hall Square. Participants are encouraged to come clad in green or in traditional Irish garb. Full Irish breakfast is served in the main city square.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
While you wouldn’t expect much of an Irish community in South America, there are a few hundred living in Sao Paulo and they make their presence known one day a year. Celebrations take place at the Bridge Restaurant (Rua Ferreira de Araujo 741, Pinheiros) where Irish stew is on the menu along with traditional Irish whiskey and of course plenty of Guinness.
Irish Week is considered a local holiday in this Western city in the USA. There is a mini-parade and a ceremonial green stripe is painted down the middle of 4th Ave. There are also a public masses at the Catholic churches dedicated to world peace.
How to pour a proper Guinness
Where are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?