Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, our nation’s national holiday is celebrated all around the world. But how did it become so popular? I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m not a big ‘Paddy’s Day’ fan unless I’m abroad and this year, naturally, I’ll be celebrating in Puglia, Italy.
A latent sense of patriotism seems to erupt whenever I’m away, whereas at home, I would be just as happy to sit around and casually glance at the parades on TV.
So how does the world celebrate and where should you go to feel that sense of ‘Irishness’, no matter how over the top or stereotypical it may be. Hello green river!
When you think Irish celebrations, you wouldn’t automatically think of Argentina. Or maybe you would? Because believe it or not, the city of Buenos Aires is actually home to the fifth largest Irish population in the world. Surprised? I was too.
Known in the city as La Fiesta de San Patricio, you can be guaranteed a memorable time in this vibrant city. Within a 10-block radius on the streets around the Retiro district, you can party, dance and listen to music – the atmosphere is infectious.
So whether you choose to simply watch the parade at Plaza San Martin or party the night away on Reconquista Street, you’ll be having the fiesta of your life.
Konnichiwa! Toyko has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since 1992 and the festival has only grown in popularity over the past 25 years. The city imports Guinness especially for the big day, which now attracts over 300,000 spectators.
Tokyo does nothing by half and you can expect to see parades taking place all day while locals and tourists alike celebrate and have fun together.
While it was originally used as a means for the Irish to introduce their culture and customs to the Japanese people, it has now become a fantastic mixture of Irish and Japanese costumes and fun.
New York’s inclusion on the list shouldn’t surprise anyone. America is home to a huge Irish community and with the history associated with the city and our emigration, it’s no surprise that the big apple is home to the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the world.
In fact, it’s the one I’m most likely to watch on TV. With parades taking place along the city’s streets since 1792 (yes, you read that correctly), you can dance and sing your way down fifth avenue in honour of dear old St. Patrick…just don’t call it Patty’s day!
The tiny island of Montserrat in the Caribbean goes all out for St. Patrick’s Day. As the only place outside of the Emerald Isle where March 17th is a bank holiday, this would definitely be a celebration to remember.
Similar to Ireland, Montserrat is known as the Emerald Island. With Irish roots dating back to the 17th century, its national colours are green and gold and wait for it…there’s an Irish harp on their flag!
So if the Irish weather isn’t really your cup of tea, Montserrat will have you feeling like you’re at home, but enjoying a much more tropical climate.
Did you know that Singapore has its very own St. Patrick’s Society? Mostly formed by expats, the society hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day Ball- hello glamour!
There are also numerous music events and parades often held on the day so of course, some green attire goes a long way.
Even though it’s not specifically related to Ireland, if you find yourself in Singapore, you simply must seek out the Michelin-starred hawker – perfect fuel for the celebrations.
Irish Week in Moscow is the largest festival of Irish culture in Russia. Celebrating all the Emerald Isle has to offer, the week includes the Moscow Irish Film Festival and of course, a St. Patrick’s day parade (usually held later in the month around the 24th).
But that doesn’t mean that March 17th itself is a quiet affair in the city, with an 8-hour music marathon taking place in Izyestiya Hall.
Our closest neighbour is also the spot of one of the best celebrations in Europe and around the world. With so many Irish people living in the UK, this isn’t really much of a surprise.
With colourful floats, music and dance, the parade will travel from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square. but the fun doesn’t end there.
The Trafalgar Square festival boasts some unmissable Irish entertainment all day and yes, that includes traditional Irish music and dancing. You can also be sure to stumble onto a party or two if you venture into one of the city’s many Irish pubs.
The Norwegian Irish Society hosts a fun filled St. Patrick’s Day parade every year in the country’s capital city of Oslo.
While the parade was originally founded by the Oslo St. Patrick’s Day association, which mostly comprised of Irish expats, it has since grown to be so much more.
By 2009, the parade had grown so popular that it expanded to become an all-inclusive celebration of the Irish in Scandinavia.
In a similar fashion to New York, a lot of Irish people emigrated to Australia in the past, In fact, the country is still a popular destination for those seeking a gap year or some work experience.
With parties, celebrations in pubs, drinks all round and a huge Irish community, St Patrick’s Day in Australia might have you thinking that you’re at home.
Sydney’s parade is actually said to be the world’s second largest parade after NYC. This year’s parade will be held in the historic precinct of The Rocks, which will be transformed into an Irish village complete with live music, stalls and of course, copious amounts of alcohol.
Last but not least is the beautiful city of Montreal in Canada. With so many Irish people living and working in the country, not to mention the fact that many Canadians have Irish ancestors, it’s no great surprise that Canada is home to one of the largest and oldest St Patrick’s Day parades in North America.
Taking place since 1824, both the Irish and locals alike join together for incomparable fun in the form of parties, cooking classes, whiskey tastings and much more.
Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.
Named Best Break Out Travel Writer at the 2018 Travel Media Awards, Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.
A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.