Global festivities for Irish

Parades: Will be held across the globe on March 17. Dublin will play host to the largest parade, attracting over 500,000 people each year.

Parades: Will be held across the globe on March 17. Dublin will play host to the largest parade, attracting over 500,000 people each year.

The four corners of the globe will be awash with green on March 17 as millions around the world celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Leprechaun hats, ginger beards and pints of Guinness will be the staples as people take to the streets in the name of Ireland's patron saint.

History

St Patrick’s Day was originally a religious feast day for St Patrick – the patron saint of Ireland and a Christian missionary.

St Patrick, the son of a deacon and the grandson of a priest, was actually not born Irish but is believed to have grown up in Roman Britain.

Kidnapped by Irish raiders he was sold into slavery in Ireland. According to his autobiographical Confessio, which survives, the next six years were spent imprisoned in the north of the island and he worked as a herdsmen of sheep and pigs on Mount Slemish in County Antrim.

After escaping and returning to his home, he is said to have had a dream calling him back to Ireland to spread the word of God, converting the pagans to Christianity before his death on March 17 in the fifth century.

Despite its origins, St Patrick’s Day has since grown into a global celebration of Irish culture, with festivities (usually, involving a fair bit of drinking) held throughout the world.

Traditions

The shamrock is said to have been used by St Patrick to explain Christianity to the Irish.  It has now become one or Ireland’s most recognised symbols and on St Patrick’s Day shamrocks will appear on faces, adorned on hats and sculpted into pints of Guinness. 

It is tradition to wear a bunch of shamrocks on your lapel during the festivities, whether this is a mass service or a parade in your local town and to then “drown your shamrock”, which involves a visit to the local pub for a pint of Guinness or Irish whiskey.

You’d be hard pressed not to find an Irish pub in most regional centres within Australia and on March 17, they’re the place to be. Revellers gather for “the craic” and to immerse themselves in Irish culture, from its traditional music and dance, to a pint of the “black stuff”.

It’s all in the name

It may be 1500 years since St Patrick died, but people are still making the mistake of calling his annual celebration “St. Patty's Day”.

If you want a nickname for Ireland's patron saint, the 5th-century British missionary who brought Christianity to Ireland and (supposedly) booted out the snakes, then use Paddy.

This originates from from the Irish Pádraig, and is an acceptable nickname for any Patricks in your life.

Patty, on the other hand, isn't short for anything, and unless you're talking about a burger, it shouldn't be used.

Drowning the shamrock: Irish pubs will be the place to be to enjoy a pint of Guinness, some traditional music and immerse yourself in the craic.

Drowning the shamrock: Irish pubs will be the place to be to enjoy a pint of Guinness, some traditional music and immerse yourself in the craic.

Traditions: Ireland has a rich and vibrant culture, from the beautiful Gaelic language, Irish music and Irish dancing.

Traditions: Ireland has a rich and vibrant culture, from the beautiful Gaelic language, Irish music and Irish dancing.