We all know that St. Patrick’s Day is March 17 each year, but what else do you know about the holiday?
St. Patrick is known for bringing Christianity to Ireland, and March 17 marks his death in the late 5th Century C.E. (it is rumored that he used the three leaves of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland). In the early 17th century St. Patrick’s Day was named an official Feast Holiday observed by numerous churches throughout Ireland. As the holiday occurred during the Christian season of Lent, the prohibitions of meat and alcohol consumption were waived during that day to allow for grand celebration (paving the way for the emphasis on drinking for our modern-day celebrations).
Here are a few different traditions observed by various countries around the world for St. Patrick’s Day
United States – While it is not recognized as a legal holiday, St. Patrick’s Day has been widely celebrated here in the United States since the late 18th century. The most common celebrations include displaying the color green prominently in decorations and clothing, the consumption of alcohol, and parades.
Canada – There are many different celebrations that occur throughout the different provinces of Canada. The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team were called the Toronto St. Patrick’s from 1919-1927. Toronto is also host to a large annual parade that attracts over 100,000 spectators. St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, the easternmost province of Canada.
Argentina – Since the weather is warm in March, Argentina celebrates with all-night parties where only beer is consumed, and many people wear green. Argentina holds the 5th-largest Irish community outside of Ireland.
Montserrat – This tiny island in the Caribbean–founded by Irish refugees–is the only place in the world besides Ireland and Newfoundland and Labrador that honors St. Partick’s Day as a public holiday. The celebrating is combined with a commemoration of a failed slave uprising in 1768 that also occurred on March 17.
Japan – While getting a recent start to the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day (the first parade was held in 1992), there are nine different locations in Japan that hold independent St. Patrick’s Day parades. The celebrations usually occur throughout the month of March.
Russia – The first St. Patrick’s day parade occurred in Russia in 1992 as well. The parade that occurs in Moscow is divided into two parts, an “official” parade which is a collaboration between the Moscow government and the Irish embassy, and a “non-official” parade which is carnival-esque with juggling, stilts, and Celtic music.