Over the past 200 years, Irish people have emigrated to all corners of the earth. Some left their native shores by choice but most emigrated to find work. They settled in towns and cities on the five continents, no location being too remote, too wet, too dry, too hot or too cold. It is for that reason that St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th all over the world – just as the festivities wane in one city they begin in the next. For 24 hours as the earth revolves and portions are brightened by the sun, a celebration begins and another one comes to a close as the sun goes down.
Snippets of these parades and festivities are broadcast on Irish TV on March 18th because even as bedtime arrives in Ireland on March 17th, the most ‘Irish’ of parties is still in full swing elsewhere.
Irish Traditions Around the World
No Irish person is as in touch with their ethnicity as the emigrant or those who descended from Irish emigrants regardless of where they live on the globe. They love to celebrate their origins with gusto and some do it quietly in remote areas like Newfoundland where many of the citizens, although several generations removed from their native soil, still retain customs and accents of their ancestors origins.
In other areas such as New York city, Irish emigrants have integrated into their communities over generations, they operated businesses, entered politics, engaged in the medical professions and served in the military like every other citizen. The St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York is one of the biggest in the world, it is now utilised to make national and international social and political statements both subtly and overtly.
Other parades occur in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sidney, London, Glasgow and to a lesser degree in most of Europe’s capital cities. There are Irish celebrations even in parts of India, China and Japan.
Best Place to Celebrate the Irish National Holiday
The best place to enjoy St Patrick’s Day and participate in their festivities is of course in Ireland. The biggest parade usually occurs in Dublin and visitors from all over the world converge on the city in the middle of March to watch the street theatre of the parade, to drink a pint of Guinness and to settle into a cosy Irish pub for a traditional music session. The Irish who live at home usually attend a local parade and there are parades in the main town/city of every county in Ireland.
Local parades are always a delight to attend. Being local we know many of the participants, we enjoy their music, their satirical performances and we support our neighbours and friends who are promoting their new product or service. We enjoy judging from the pavement, our children while not always understanding the messages being transmitted, enjoy the spectacle, the colour and the sound.