Ahh St. Patrick’s Day… Raucous parades, Leprechaun hats and green beer… It’s the most-celebrated national holiday in the world. Everyone is a little Irish on March 17th!
What is now one of the most-used excuses to throw a raging party originally stems from celebrations of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick. History tells us he was born in Britain but kidnapped around the age of 16 at which point he was brought to Ireland as a slave. During his enslavement in Ireland, he heard the voice of God telling him to flee his master and head home to Britain. Upon returning home he studied Christianity and eventually obeyed another voice urging him to return to Ireland as a missionary and convert the then-polytheistic Irish.
Green Beer at St. Partick’s day
- The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland. It was actually in Boston in 1737.
- We associate the shamrock with St. Patrick because he used the three-leafed plant to illustrate the concept of the Holy Trinity (my Lucky Charms breakfast just became mildly interesting)
- On St. Patrick’s Day, the daily global consumption of Guinness jumps from the average of 5.5 million to an unbelievable 13 million pints
- The actual colour of St. Patrick is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day during the 19th century. Green, in Irish legends, was worn by fairies and immortals, and also by people to encourage their crops to grow.
Ok, now you know enough about the history to pass any basic quiz on why exactly you choose to willingly drink green beer on March 17th. Now let’s get to the top 5 cities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day:
From March 14th to 17th, Ireland’s capital city is taken over by celebrations of Lá Fhéile Pádraig. The festival includes an Irish Craft Beer & Food Market, music and art performances in the streets, a celebration of the céilís (traditional dances), a boat race on the river Liffey, and a performance of “Greening the City” every evening, when the city’s buildings are illuminated in green lights (picture above). On the final day of the festival a massive parade winds its way through Dublin, offering entertainment for all ages.
When the official entertainment is over, you can explore Dublin’s legendary restaurants pubs for yourself and even venture out of the city to see what the country’s villages have to offer. Don’t forget to visit the Guinness Storehouse, because visiting Dublin without visiting the Storehouse might actually be criminal.
New York, USA
St. Patrick’s Day in the Big Apple is a big deal. Its main event is the world’s oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parade (the first one was held in 1762, even before the Declaration of Independence!), including the procession of around 150,000 participants up 5th Avenue, and drawing around two million spectators each year.
After witnessing the world’s largest parade, you might be ready for a drink. Lucky for you, the bars in NYC pull out all the stops for St. Paddy’s Day each year. You can visit one of the numerous authentic Irish pubs in the city, or explore the bars in the city’s various neighbourhoods for your choice of Guinness, green beer, and Irish Coffee, an “Emerald Isle” green martini, or any other variation of an otherwise everyday drink that is somehow tied to the colour green on March 17th. For all of you non-lushes, they usually have cleverly named Irish/ green-theme virgin cocktails as well!
If there was ever any doubt of whether Chicago takes St. Patrick’s Day seriously, one must simply watch the Chicago River turn green before the city’s annual parade. Yep, Chicago is so die-hard that they turn the entire river green. Now that’s dedication!
Just like in the Big Apple, Chicago’s most famous pubs host rowdy Patty parties, full of Irish music, dancing and themed beverages!
Are you ready to be Irish on March 17th? Leave us a comment below with your plans for the big day.
Anna was born in the beautiful state of New Jersey, but spent most of her life growing up in California. She's been to 28 of the 50 states in her native US, and after college she got to start exploring abroad. At this point she's been lucky enough to travel to over 20 countries, and got excited when she realized she needed to buy extra pages for her passport, although the process didn't turn out to be as cheap (or as fun) as she expected.