Gettin' Lucky Around the Globe

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Like a long list of international holidays like Cinco de Mayo, Christmas, New Years Eve and others, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in unique ways across the globe.

As promised, here’s how people celebrate St. Pat’s Day across the world…

* In Ireland there are huge parades in Dublin, Belefast, Cork, Armagh and Limerick. Before hitting the parade route, some people head to mass in the morning and then straight to the local pub.

* Canadians have a love for St. Pat. In fact, from 1919 to 1927 the Toronto Maple Leafs changed their name to The Toronto St. Patricks and wore green jerseys. In 1999, the Maple Leafs played a game on St. Pat’s day and donned their throw back jerseys.

* The UK claims to be the host of the third largest parade in the world – behind Dublin and New York – in the city of Birmingham. The two-mile route goes through the city center. Manchester also represents with a two-week festival prior to March 17th, that includes an Irish Market and cultural events.

* In Great Britain, the Queen Mother would fly in bowls of shamrock from Ireland to members of the Irish Guards. The Trafalgar Square fountains are even dyed green.
“Fresta Irlandese” is a ten-day party in Italy, where the people chow down on traditional Irish foods with an Italian twist.

In the United States, a number of cities have getting-wasted-on-green-beer traditions…

* According to Wikipedia, the largest unofficial party in the U.S. is in Savannah, GA, with 750,000 people gathering in 2006. People travel through the city’s park district and then dye all of the fountain water green. The city does not have an open container law.

* I personally love what the people of small-town Hot Springs, AK do. Somewhat mocking other U.S. cities parades, the city hosts the “Worlds Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” that moves across Bridge Street. Ripley’s Believe It or Not once designated this street the shortest in the world. Recently, the city of Boulder, Colo., is trying to rival this celebration with a parade that is less than a city block.
* The Scranton, PA, parade and celebration are said to be so popular that the TV show “The Office” was rumored to be taping and episode capturing the party. Scranton hosts the third largest parade in the U.S. with 150,000 people attending.

As you all know, here in Chi-town, we dye the Chicago River green, have two big parades and drink green beers until we pass in out in bars like “O’Brien’s, Butch McGuire’s, Finn McCools, etc.” Stay tuned for a recap.

(Sources: Wikipedia. Photos: l.spieler 2008)