Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saint Patrick’s Day, a Worldwide Party!

Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday celebrated Internationally on March 17. It is named after Saint Patrick and originated as a Catholic holiday. It wasn’t until the early 17th century that it became an official feast day and today it is a huge part of Irish Culture. So, this year, while your testing your luck of the Irish in an exciting game of "drink until you can’t feel anything anymore," take a look at how the rest of the world celebrates the green holiday. 

Argentina - Celebrates with all-night long parties in designated streets, since the weather is comfortably warm in March. People dance and drink only beer throughout the night, until seven or eight in the morning, and although the tradition of mocking those who do not wear green does not exist, many people wear something green.

Canada - One of the longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal, the flag of which has a shamrock in one of its corners. The parades have been held in continuity since 1824

Great Britain - The Queen Mother used to present bowls of shamrock flown over from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards, a regiment in the British Army consisting primarily of soldiers from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Guards still wear shamrock on this day, flown in from Ireland.

Montserrat - Known as "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" because of its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis, is the only place in the world apart from Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador where St Patrick's Day is a public holiday. The holiday commemorates a failed slave uprising that occurred on 17 March 1768.

South Korea - Seoul (Capital city of South Korea) has celebrated Saint Patrick's Day since 2001 with Irish Association of Korea. The place of parade and festival has been moved from Itaewon and Daehangno to Cheonggyecheon.

New Zealand - Saint Patrick's Day is widely celebrated in New Zealand - green items of clothing are traditionally worn and the streets are often filled with revellers drinking and making merry from early afternoon until late at night.

Japan - Saint Patrick's Parades are now held in 9 locations across Japan. The first parade, in Tokyo, was organised by The Irish Network Japan in 1992. Today, parades and other events related to Saint Patrick's Day spread across almost the entire month of March.

United States - Well, I’m pretty sure you all can figure out how we celebrate here. Just mix enough green and beer together and it’s sure to be a good time.

And this year, while you’re wearing your traditional green colors, remember to mix some red into your day by making a donation to your local American Red Cross to help aid the relief efforts in Japan. And fear not, we will still accept your donation while heavily intoxicated. Just think of it this way, you're going to blow a large amount of money anyways, might as well put some of it to good use and help those in need. May you all have a safe and Merry Saint Patrick’s Day!

-Aaron Lloyd, Health & Safety Services Intern