St. Patrick’s Day, to the average Brit, is little more than a good excuse for a great night out and a bit of a binge. It’s not really a celebration of St. Patrick anymore, or the introduction of Christianity to Ireland; more just a celebration of all things Irish. Alex Delaney reveals all about the magic of March 17…
It’s March 17. Anyone with a faint bit of Irish in their bloodline is suddenly overcome with patriotism, and starts necking pint after pint of the black stuff. There’s a general sense of joy and goodwill that is seldom felt any other night of the year.
In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is treated a little more seriously, for the religious holiday it is, with parades and church services; though as you’d expect from a day that is also the end of Lenten restrictions on alcohol, when the sun goes down, it all ends with a big knees-up over there too.
But it’s not just the Irish and the Brits – all over the world, different countries have their own unique ways of celebrating St. Patrick’s and Irish culture. The Americans, for example, love it. In Chicago, they actually dye the river green for the day! There is a great love for Ireland in the USA, and a lot of Americans claim to have Irish roots.
There are Irish pubs seemingly everywhere you go in New York and Boston (whose basketball team is known as the Boston Celtics, and has a leprechaun as their logo), and St. Patrick’s has been celebrated in the USA since before the American Revolution.
Celebrations are held in Canada too, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Japan and even South Korea. Each has it’s own way of celebrating, but one aspect is nearly always present – there’s usually a LOT of drinking involved.
But personally, I believe there’s a lot more to it than that. Surely no one would deny that the atmosphere on St. Patrick’s Day is unlike any other night of the year?
I think a lot of it is down to the way that the Irish are romanticised by people across the globe. The ladies love an Irishman (trust me), and Ireland is justifiably still seen as an old-fashioned, idyllic country, full of beauty and rich heritage.
The Irish are often the butt of jokes (An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman walk into a bar…) but they’re also seen as extremely jolly, quick witted and good humoured. There are dozens of popular Irish comedians, actors, musicians, writers; and of course, this same nation gave the world Guinness, whiskey, and a sense of how drinking should be done.
Not bad for a tiny island, where the majority of the population live in one city. I’ll drink to that!