Traditions Around the World
If you’re a big fan of St. Patrick’s Day like we are, you’ll wake up on the 17th dreaming of what’s to come. You can smell the delicious corned beef, cabbage, and faint richness of Guinness floating in the air. You can almost taste it. Everywhere you look, you’re seeing green. Shamrocks on clothing, grand banners, even the milk! Everyone seems to be in a giddy mood; there’s an electricity in the air. You’re looking forward to the parade where you’ll watch and listen as the space fills up with laughter and smiles.
We know we’re not the only ones dreaming of the festivities. Countless people honor St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, this holiday gets observed on an international level – over 200 countries take part in the celebration! Can you believe it? We love learning how other countries show their pride for the Irish holiday and want to share a few of those celebrations with you.
Chicago, Illinois – Every year since 1962, Chicago dyes the river a beautiful bright green before the St. Patrick’s Day parade. It’s quite the spectacle! Everyone comes out to watch the magic of the river changing colors. The recipe for the magic dye is a well-guarded secret; perhaps leprechaun trickery is involved?
Sydney, Australia – Australia currently holds the title for the largest St. Patty’s celebration in the southern hemisphere. Not only is the Sydney Opera House lit up with green lights, but the town also gets a full makeover! The entire area is transformed into an Irish village with food, music, and even a children’s parade. They’ve earned those bragging rights!
Montserrat – Outside of Ireland, this small island is the only country where March 17 is a national public holiday. There, the festival spans over a 10-day period! It commemorates both the slave freedom fighters’ rebellion of 1768 and acknowledges the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants. It’s a unique celebration blending two heritages with traditional masquerade costumes, steel drums, goat stew, and a freedom run.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The massive 98-foot Christ the Redeemer Statue gets a glowing transformation for the holiday. The emerald lights illuminate the statue in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. At night, the local Irish pubs host special events that include live music, trivia, and fun giveaways.
Kansas City, Missouri – One of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day traditions actually happens in our own backyard! Every year, St. Patrick’s Day happens within the Lenten Season, a time when many Catholics may abstain from eating meat on Fridays. In the years where St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, the Archdiocese of Kansas City issues a special degree to “dispense from the obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, March 17, 2023”.1 We love this local tradition of honoring St. Patrick as well as the Catholics who have given so much to Ireland.
As you can see, St. Patrick’s Day is a worldwide phenomenon! Hopefully this quick blog was able to give you a little glimpse of how the event is observed around the globe. Now that you’re in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, you can feel confident celebrating the holiday with your own traditions. Maybe you can even start up some new traditions of your own. Whatever you decide, may the luck o’ the Irish be on your side!
1 (2023, February 28). Saint Patrick’s Day Dispensation for 2023. ArchKCK.org. Retrieved March 1, 2023, from https://archkck.org/st_patricks_day_dispensation_2023/