8 places around the world you wouldn’t expect to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
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Happy St Patrick’s Day from TPG! In normal times, today would mean merriment in pubs or on the street, green leprechaun hats and lashings of Guinness.
Sadly, since we are still in — though nearly at the end — of lockdown No. 3 in the U.K., we’ll have to mark the day at home. Obviously, St Patrick’s Day originated and is most widely celebrated in Ireland, but many destinations around the world honour it with cheer and beer.
So to get us in the spirit for when we can travel again and to inspire us for St Patrick’s Days ahead, here are eight unexpected places to celebrate St Patrick’s Day around the world.
1. Montserrat, Caribbean
Situated about 4,000 miles from Dublin, you’ll find a small Caribbean island with a surprisingly large St Patrick’s Day celebration. Deemed the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean,” Montserrat is the only country outside Ireland that acknowledges St Patrick’s Day as a public holiday. Given the African and Irish roots, St Patrick’s Day festivities in Montserrat have a distinct and unique Caribbean blend. Expect a week-long celebration that includes costume parades, a kite festival, calypso music concerts and, of course, thousands of people flooding the streets with their green shamrocks.
2. Brussels, Belgium
With a local Irish community of between 10,000 to 15,000 people, Belgium is another major European city that celebrates St Patrick’s Day. The Embassy of Ireland in Belgium typically leads the celebrations throughout the city. The festivities feature grand celebrations with dancing, acres of colourful green and feasting and drinking. Even Manneken Pis, the bronze fountain structure and symbol of Brussels folklore gets a costume to celebrate.
3. Chicago, Illinois
If you’re looking for a celebration stateside, venture to the city of Chicago for an all-out St Patrick’s Day celebration. In normal times, head to the Irish American Heritage Centre for one of Chicago’s biggest St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Look out for colourful floats, marching bands and Irish dancers throughout the streets. Thousands of people typically gather for the festivities, which also include the 50-year tradition of dying the river emerald green. Find a place along the banks of the Chicago Riverwalk between Michigan and Columbus early because it’s only green for about five hours.
4. Sydney, Australia
Next year, head to Sydney for its St Patrick’s Day in The Rocks celebration with family-fun events, including live entertainment, marching bands, Irish dancers and plenty of Irish food and beverages. Whether you’re a local or tourist, you’ll surely enjoy St Patrick’s Day “Down Under.”
5. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo kicks off St Patrick’s Day with the biggest Irish event in Japan. Every year since 1992, the Irish Network of Japan, with the Embassy of Ireland, aims to introduce Irish culture to the people of Japan. Growing in popularity ever since, the event now — in normal times — brings over 300,000 spectators together for a day-long parade. There’s also an “I Love Ireland Festival,” which coupled with the parade, is known as Japan’s largest Irish event.
6. Savannah, Georgia
While Savannah is known as a romantic destination, it is also a great St Patrick’s Day spot. Every year, more than 300,000 people typically flood the cobblestone streets of Savannah, from River Street to City Market, to watch one of the largest St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the U.S. Revellers are in for a weekend of eating delicious food and drink, and tons of festivities. Plus, travellers can stop by Forsyth Park’s fountain to see the water dyed emerald green.
7. Montreal, Canada
The St Patrick’s Day Festival of Montreal is one of the longest-running Irish-themed celebrations in North America. Since 1824, this Canadian city has been channelling Ireland on 17 March each year with marching bands, bagpipes, floats and even a massive Saint Patrick. Organised by the United Irish Societies of Montreal, patrons are expected to wear their shamrocks with pride and turn the city green for a day.
8. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Many think of Argentina as a place for carnivals, but it’s also a place known for its St Patrick’s Day fun. St Patrick’s Day is typically a week-long celebration in Buenos Aires, which boasts plenty of music, food and dancers. The celebration is usually one of the largest of its kind in South America. At the heart of the celebration is a festival known as Fiesta de San Patricio. Patrons fill the streets with vibrant music and dancing. Like so many other places across the world, you can expect lots of live Irish music and traditional feasts to ring in the Irish spirit.
It’s lovely to see nations all over the world mark a day that started in Ireland, celebrating good health, neighbourly vibes and of course, having a few drinks. So while this year you’ll have to raise your glass at home, here’s to many St Patrick’s Days in the future we can spend with friends.
Featured photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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