Legend has it that St Patrick banished the serpents from the Emerald Isle. Pretty amazing, right? But perhaps even more amazing are the astonishing number of wild parties thrown in honor of Ireland’s patron saint to this day. While you might not be able to twirl your partner at a ceilidh this year, you can still get in the spirit. Few celebrations bring people together for a good craic like St Patrick’s Day. And the Guinness won’t just be flowing in Ireland. Cities as far-flung as Tokyo and Buenos Aires get into the spirit of St Patrick’s day, too. Here are eight of the best global celebrations.
- The Chicago River is dyed green
- Tokyo holds an ‘I Love Ireland’ festival
- Buenos Aires has a big street party
- There’s a public holiday in Montserrat
- The Sydney Opera House is illuminated green
- Steins of Guinness are clinked in Munich
- A statue in Brussels is dressed in a green sweater
- Dublin parties for five days straight
The Chicago River is dyed green
Look at any photo of St Patrick’s Day festivities along the Chicago River and you might think the river’s been photoshopped. In fact, it’s been dyed bright green in honor of St Patrick. Sounds like reckless pollution? Never fear, the dye is environmentally-friendly. And the celebrations don’t start and end on the river banks. Irish dancers and bagpipers parade on Columbus Drive in front of over four hundred thousand revelers. Yes, it’s fair to say Windy City residents really paint the town green for St Patrick’s day.
Tokyo holds an ‘I Love Ireland’ festival
When you think of Paddie’s Day — the faces painted with shamrocks, Irish flags waving everywhere — chances are, Tokyo isn’t the first place that springs to mind. Yet with over 100,000 attendees, the ‘I Love Ireland’ festival is a big deal for Japanese revelers. Omotesando Street becomes a vibrant swirl of marching bands and colorful floats. Many party-goers round off the fun with a slice of green matcha cake at the flea market.
Buenos Aires has a big street party
On 17th March, feasts of colcannon, and dark beers galore are the order of the day in Ireland…and in Argentina. Take a wander through the Retiro District of Buenos Aires and you’re likely to stumble on a giant street party. Home to the world’s fifth-largest Irish community, it’s no wonder Argentina goes wild for Paddie’s Day.
There’s a public holiday in Montserrat
On the Caribbean island of Montserrat, 17th March is just as important as it is in Ireland. So much so that there’s a public holiday on that day. Why? Well, the Irish were some of the island’s first settlers. And on St Patrick’s Day in 1768, there was a failed slave uprising. Nowadays there’s a ten-day festival commemorating that rebellion. And with a trademark calypso competition, this party has a distinctively Caribbean flavor.
The Sydney Opera House is illuminated green
Ordinarily, Paddie’s Day is a chance to go big. And in the Southern Hemisphere, there’s no bigger celebration than Sydney’s. With live music and food stalls, ‘The Rocks’ area takes on the energy of an Irish village. Meanwhile, over the harbor, Sydneysiders can enjoy a magnificent, if unusual, view of the iconic Opera House lit up bright green.
There’s no doubt people in Munich know how to party (see: Oktoberfest). So, it’s no surprise that Bavarian steins are dusted off and filled with the ‘black stuff’ on March 17th. The city’s residents, or Münchner as they’re known, feast together at street food festivals in Odeonsplatz and Wittelsbacherplatz. When their stomachs are well-lined, they raise a Guinness or two to the tune of live Celtic bands.
A statue in Brussels is dressed in a green sweater
There’s not much chance of forgetting about St Patrick’s Day in Brussels. City councilors go the extra mile to dress up for the occasion. Or rather, to dress up a famous city-center statue in a cable-knit sweater. The Manneken Pis is traditionally adorned with a flat cap and green trousers for the big day. There’s plenty of celebrations held around the Mannekin, too, like Gaelic football and Irish music in Parc du Cinquantenaire.
Dublin parties for five days straight
Let’s be serious: the best place to be anything but serious on Paddie’s Day is the motherland. The carnival atmosphere in Ireland is absolutely ‘deadly’, as the Irish would so. And nowhere is more lively than Dublin. In a normal year, the city parties for five whole days. Street parades stomp to live music and landmarks are lit green. There’s even the world’s largest open-air céilidh, or traditional Irish dance. This is definitely a travel experience to add to your bucket list.