Nearly 12 percent of Americans and over 70 million people worldwide claim Irish ancestry, so it should come as no surprise that Ireland’s national holiday, 17th March, St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated around the globe. From Japan to Australia, across Europe, and the Caribbean, everyone with a little Irish in them will don their green clothes, paint on some shamrocks and celebrate their heritage at a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Here’s some information on just some of the celebrations planned across the world:
Munich, Germany - This parade was established in 1995 and now has between 3,000 and 15,000 participants every year. The events are organized by the Deutsch-Irischer Freundeskreis Bayern e.V., München Colmcilles GAA Club, Munich Irish Rovers and numerous other clubs and people. This year’s events will take place on the 10th and 11th March. Munich will shut down one of its main streets, Leopold Strasse. Their celebrations will begin with a Mass at St. Michael’s Church on Saturday evening, followed by a party. On Sunday, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place between Muenchner Freiheit to Odeonsplatz.
Tokyo, Japan - Although Tokyo plays host to the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the city is certainly not on its own. In Japan alone there are four large parades. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the parade as last year’s parade was cancelled due to the earthquake and tsunami. On the 18th March, the main strip of Omotesando, the main street in the city, will be shut down and costumed hoards, marching bands, and the cheerleaders who make up the parade will end at an Irish pub for the end of the celebrations. About 2,000 participants take part in the parade and as many as 7,000 spectators enjoy the celebrations.
Sydney, Australia - On 18th March, Australia’s capital, Sydney, will turn green with “St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Family Day”. The patron saint has been celebrated in Australia since 1810, when Governor, Lachlan Macquarie, declared the date an official day of celebration for the Irish. Now, over 200 years later, Australia has a month of Irish related events including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, balls, race days, golf days, and concerts.
Toronto, Canada - Toronto’s is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades in North America, including 100 organizations, 32 Irish county associations, 2,000 marchers, 30 floats, 14 bands as well as an assortment of wolfhounds, leprechauns and talking shamrocks.
Oslo, Norway - Nearly 1,000 people join in the Oslo St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which ends in the Town Hall Square with Irish entertainment. The parade includes a pipe band, driven by a red-bearded chauffer in a horse and cart, and a host of other colorful Irish characters. Dressing up is definitely encouraged here and the public turn out dressed as Brian Boru, Molly Malone, walking whiskey bottles, full Irish breakfasts and whatever else they can think of.
Montserrat, British West Indies Island - This tiny island holds a week-long celebration of Irish culture which culminates on 17th March. The festival is also a commemoration of the slave uprising of 17th March 1768 on the island. Their celebrations include a special service at the Catholic Church, a lecture, an exhibition, guided hikes in the forested mountains, the Freedom Run from Cudjoe Head to Salem Park, a St. Patrick's Day dinner, and a Junior Calypso Competition.
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