Saint Patrick’s Day: The day the world turns green
Saint Patrick’s Day (17 March) marks the arrival of the saint to Ireland in the 5th century. It’s thanks to Saint Patrick that Ireland’s national emblem is the shamrock. It’s said he used it to illustrate the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.
Saint Patrick is buried in Northern Ireland, his final resting place can be found in the ancient grounds of Downpatrick Cathedral, Co. Down. He also worked as a shepherd on Mount Slemish and hundreds make a special pilgrimage to the site every St Patrick’s Day.
It’s also a day when the world celebrates Irish culture and its connections to the island. For being such a small region on an equally small island, our diaspora is scattered far and wide. It’s estimated that 10 million first- and second-generation NI diaspora live away from the region. It’s no wonder celebrations take place all over the world.
Once again 66 countries will take part in this years’ ‘Global Greening’ – an initiative set up by Tourism Ireland to light up landmarks in green to celebrate their Irish population. It started back in 2010 with the iconic Sydney Opera house being the first site to go green. Now it’s’ joined by 690 other landmarks.
There are St Patrick’s Day carnivals in London and New York, the famous Chicago River is dyed bright green and Singapore hosts its annual St Patrick’s Day Street Festival. Montserrat which is known as ‘the emerald isle of the Caribbean’ is the only country outside of Ireland where St Patrick’s Day is celebrated as a national holiday.
For those of you who are travelling to Northern Ireland, we can’t wait to welcome you back. In Belfast, the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade returns and has been reimagined as part of an 11 day citywide festival of events celebrating the patron saint’s day. In Dublin, the St Patrick’s Day festivities return after a two-year absence, with up to 500,000 people expected to take part.
And chances are you aren’t too far from an Irish pub. With over 7,000 Irish themed pubs scattered across the world, Irish pubs are renowned for their warm, hearty welcome, music and general ‘good craic.’ Our people have the reputation of being the world’s friendliest too.
For our diaspora, St Patrick’s Day is an opportunity to keep customs, stories, and songs from home alive. So, whether you’re at home or aboard, we raise a glass to the achievements and innovations of all our people.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!