Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day

Get ready for green lights, green hats, even green beer! Saint Patrick's Day is on 17 March. Why is Ireland's national day such a worldwide party?

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In the 1971 film The Flight of the Doves, an Irish policeman lifts up a little English girl so that she can see the nearby parade for Saint Patrick's Day. He tells her, 'It's a great day for the Irish.' The little girl exclaims, 'I'm not Irish!', to which the policeman replies, 'You don't have to be Irish to be Irish!' Saint Patrick's Day is the national day of Ireland. Every 17 March, the day is celebrated around the globe by millions of people, Irish and not-so-Irish.

Patrick, the man

Did you know that Saint Patrick himself was not actually Irish? It is thought that he was either Scottish or Welsh, coming from a wealthy Christian family. Ancient documents suggest that, as a teenager, he was taken by Irish pirates to work as a slave in Ireland. Once in his new country, he began to talk to Irish people about God, introducing his Christian beliefs to the country. 

Patrick and the snakes

Old legends say that, years ago, Ireland had a lot of snakes and that Saint Patrick used his powers to chase them all into the sea. To this day, Ireland has many old statues of Saint Patrick, often with snakes at his feet. Apparently, this is why Ireland has no native species of snakes (though most scientists suggest that this fact could be more related to geographical reasons!).

International popularity

March 17 is a day for huge celebrations in Ireland. However, due to Ireland's history of emigration, many people around the world consider themselves to be partly Irish because of their ancestral connections. This means that Saint Patrick's Day parties take place around the world, from Boston to Tokyo, Sydney to Buenos Aires. In fact, Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival.

Big parades

The most famous celebrations on Saint Patrick's Day are the parades. These are carnival-like events, where people dress up and walk along the street, dancing or playing music. Often the parades include big lorries, specially decorated in green. Many of the world's major cities have enormous parades. The largest is in New York, where 150,000 people participate in the parade and millions of people watch. The second largest is in Dublin, Ireland's capital city.

More 'modest' parades 

Ireland itself is a relatively small country with few cities. However, most of its towns and villages have their own 'mini' parades. Sometimes, these simply include a few tractors and the children from the local school. The shortest known parade used to take place in the village of Dripsey, in southern Ireland. The length of the parade was just 23 metres, between the village's two pubs. However, the Dripsey parade came to an end when one of the two pubs sadly closed down!

A day for green

Another well-known aspect of Saint Patrick's Day is the colour green. Around the world, many people wear green clothes as a way of marking the day. In major cities, green lights illuminate famous global landmarks such as the Colosseum in Rome or the Christ The Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. In Chicago, thousands of people watch as special boats dye the river a bright green colour. Students at Miami University in Ohio, USA, even have a 70-year-old tradition of drinking special green 'Saint Patrick's' beer!

Wherever you're from, make sure you celebrate this 17 March by watching your local parade, drinking some Irish beer or perhaps just by wearing a silly green hat. And don't forget to wish your friends a wonderful Saint Patrick's Day, or, as they say in Ireland, 'Happy Paddy's Day!'


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Submitted by Stefacabrera on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 23:17

In my country Venezuela we have many religious celebrations but not Saint Patrick's day. Our most important religious celebration it is the day of the Virgen of Coromoto which is September 11. The Virgen Mary appeared to the Indian Chief (Cacique) named Coromoto in 1653. For this reason she was called the Virgen of Coromoto.

Submitted by PARIMALA MADIAZHAKAN on Mon, 15/03/2021 - 03:32

My country don't celebrate of Saint Patrick's days. The national day of my country on 31August. We celebrate our national day very well. In my country there are many diversity of people. We have many religion who help to got independence from British on 1957. That's why we celebrate the national day very well.
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Submitted by danisep on Sat, 13/02/2021 - 15:46

Here we don't celebrate Saint Patrick's day but that celebration is well known and I would like to participate take a swig of the green beer and watch the famous parades in Chicago it looks funny. and another way, here in Colombia there are many celebrations and holy days but the more famous are the Barranquilla carnival, the black and white carnival and the independence day on July 20th.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Fri, 29/05/2020 - 05:51

No. We don't. There is no any special date for this.

Submitted by Gislaine Silva on Tue, 17/03/2020 - 23:13

The Saint Patrick's day its a very similar to Carnaval in my country. The people go to street for have fun with your families or friends. They wear costumes and listen to tipical musics. On brazilian states , we have differents kinds of culture to commemorate the Carnaval . It's a very famous day in Brazil, like Saint Patrick's day it's at Ireland.

Submitted by parisaach on Tue, 03/09/2019 - 05:54

No I've never seen any one celeberate Saint Patrick's day in my country. The name was familiar, but I didn't know anything about it. thank you to inform me . I like these kind of celeberations that bring people joy and happiness. The green color is attractive and I wish we had such celebrations in my country. Anyway we have another celeberations in my country, but generally people in my country are sad and the government don't let people to be happy.
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Submitted by Anaitat on Sat, 20/04/2019 - 06:23

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in Minsk, too. There started 'The Food Festival' with Irish vibes on 17 March this year. Students and young people celebrate it in clubs painting their faces in Ireland's flag colours. There are organized women and men fights, too. Browsing the information about Saint Patrick's Day I found that at Amazon can buy a Belarusian Irish Shirt Shamrock St Patrick's Day. It is thought that the celebration of this day is attributed to mode. To my mind it is attributed to the globalization, to growth of public awareness and knowledge and to the wish for festive occasion, too. As the national day of my country is The Independence Day, by far the most important national holiday. Is the day of liberation from the occupation by Nazi Germany. On this day we pay tribute to the deceased heroes and ponder on the steps we can take to make our country thrive and prosper.
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Submitted by Olena Tsypyashchuck on Sun, 17/03/2019 - 21:52

This holiday has recently come to our country. We do not celebrate it as in other countries people do, but somebody greets each other. Many people just don`t admit it. As for me, I learned more about St.Patrick`day only this year. The national day in Ukraine is 24th of August.

Submitted by RobRoy on Mon, 11/03/2019 - 16:00

When I lived in Ukraine I knew relativly nothing about the Sain Patric's day. We celibrated New Year on 31December and Vicory day on 9 March the most other days were less important. I live in Norhtern Ireland now and my family is planning to cook a special meal a beef stew with Ginness(this is black beer). I hope I shouldn't be Irish to taste it.
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Submitted by Mehmet BALCİ on Mon, 11/03/2019 - 12:49

My country don't celebrate of Saint Patrick's days.Because it is don't know here. But we like Ireland People. Also, my country has 23 April İnternational Child day. We celebrate all day and and in all place.