St. Patrick's Ain't for the Irish

by Samantha Sherlock

Worldwide, March 17th is known as St. Patrick’s Day. Those who are Irish love to celebrate their heritage with their friends and family. Beers, old Irish tales, and the infamous corned beef with cabbage are shared on this day. The Irish want nothing more than to celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day – so why not extend the invite?

Let’s face it, the Irish aren’t the only ones celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! This day has become a holiday that's all about tradition. All over the world people come together and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in their own ways.

In 1903 St. Patrick’s Day became an official public holiday in Ireland – leaving the country with over 100 years of old and new traditions. But, outside of Ireland other countries have done the same.

In Argentina, March is a comfortably warm month. Therefore, on St. Patrick’s Day parties are celebrated all night long in designated streets. People dance and drink beer throughout the night. These parties usually last until seven or eight in the morning! In Buenos Aires, the party is held at Reconquista where there are several Irish pubs in the area. In 2006, 50,000 people were in the street and the pubs nearby! If you ever find yourself in Argentina on March 17th make sure you’re ready to party! Oh, and don’t forget to wear something green!

Canada is another country that enjoys St. Patrick’s Day. In Montreal, the longest running St. Patrick’s Day parade occurs each year. The flag for the parade has a shamrock in one of its corners. This event has been held since 1824. In March 2009, the Calgary Tower changed its top exterior lights to green bulbs in the shape of a leprechaun’s hat!

St. Patrick’s Day is also widely celebrated in New Zealand. Green items of clothing are worn and the streets are filled with the general public drinking and partying from the early afternoon until late at night. Irish or not, you’ll be getting kissed all day!

Back in the United States there are so many different cities that take part in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!

Seattle paints the traffic stripe of their parade green. Chicago dyes the Chicago River green, a tradition that's been happening since 1962. Dallas holds a parade and an after party on Lower Greenville Avenue. The parade is held the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day with thousands of spectators lining the streets. This tradition has taken place since 1981.

Hot Springs, Arkansas holds the world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade each year. The parade is held on Bridge Street, which was designated “the shortest street in the world” in 1940. Since the 19th century, New Orleans has held multiple block parties and parades for St. Patrick’s Day. Typically, New Orleans is known for throwing beads to the crowds during parades. On St. Patrick’s Day they throw onions, carrots, cabbages, potatoes, and other ingredients for making Irish stew! Georgia’s St. Patrick’s Day parade travels through Savannah’s Historic District. It has been claimed that there are 400,000 people who attend the parade each year. One of Savannah’s traditions that has developed over the years is the dyeing of the fountains. This happens several days before the parade.

There are almost 20 parades in the United States that have been dubbed the longest running St. Patrick’s Day parades; three of which are New York City, 1762, Philadelphia, 1771, and Morristown, 1780.

Two traditions that are common all over the world are to wear an item of clothing that is green, and of course, to drink until your heart’s content! So, what are you doing this St. Patrick’s Day?

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