Every year on or around March 17, people from around the globe participate in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. While most people associate St. Paddy’s Day with all things green, the purpose of the celebration is far more important than that.
St. Patrick’s Day was designated to remember the life of St. Patrick, the patron saint who brought Christianity to Ireland during the fifth century. The religious holiday is celebrated in many different parts of the world, and the Irish like to say that on March 17, “Everybody is Irish.”
This year, Faith Family America writer Serena Carter is in Dublin, Ireland on this special holiday. Let’s take a closer look at how the Irish actually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (and no, there are no *real* leprechauns involved).
The Week Of
The week leading up to the holiday is filled with many festivities. Local schools participate in “Seachtain Na Geailge,” or “Irish Week.” During this time, students typically take an Irish quiz, participate in folk dancing, and learn more about Irish culture.
Some schools participate in an activity where students are supposed to spend 24 hours speaking only Irish, though the local high schoolers informed me that they only do it when teachers are around, as English is their preferred language and “no one disrespects the Irish language more than the Irish.”
The night before the parade, the downtown scene is packed. On Friday night, I went to Temple Bar Street, a famous area in City Center with several restaurants, pubs, shops, and, of course, tourists. The area was packed with people from all over the world that had come to Ireland to celebrate the holiday.
Overall, the St. Patrick’s Day festival lasts for five days with over 1.4 million people. On Sunday, March 18, a special event takes place in Merrion Square where they offer rides, several food selections, games, and a family-friendly environment. The following Monday, schools are closed. Throughout the week leading up to the parade, tourists and Irish people alike are encouraged to visit museums, the famous Guinness Storehouse, and a local pub for some classic Irish dancing.
St. Patrick’s Day
On Saturday, over 500,000 people headed to the city center to enjoy Dublin's St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year’s event was extremely cold, with a chilling 2 Degrees Celsius temperature, snow, and a strong wind. However, the atmosphere warmed everyone up quickly. Almost everyone who attends the event wears green, with some people going all out in costume.
This year’s parade was themed “The Heart of Home,” with every float and costume referencing the idea of “home.” The parade included several marching bands from around the United States, as well! Universities and high schools from Texas, Alabama, Minnesota, California, and Pennsylvania represented the U.S. at the special event.
Below are several photos of the parade:
After the parade, many of the Irish sports fans headed to local pubs where they could enjoy Ireland National Rugby Union Team’s final match of the season, which ended with a win. Ireland’s rugby team won the NatWest 6 Nations Championship, as well as the Grand Slam title.
What do you think of the Irish St. Patrick's Day celebrations? Let us know your thoughts! Parades took place all around the world. In London, Kate Middleton attended the parade and stunned the crowd with her green maternity outfit.