The Five Most Surprising Places to Celebrate St Patricks Day
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
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St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many cities that boast large Irish populations, such as Dublin, Belfast, New York and Boston. It is, however, also celebrated in places you wouldn’t expect.
Read on to discover these five destinations and how they celebrate on March 17.
It may seem strange to find one of the most iconic western festivals celebrated in Japan, but Tokyo has been hosting a St Patrick’s Day parade since 1992. Although it started out as a way to introduce the Japanese people to Irish culture, the celebration has transformed into an event that merges traditional Irish costumes with Japanese traditions. Over 2,000 people participate in the parade, another 30,000 attend as spectators, and the streets of Tokyo are decked out in green banners and decorations while Irish dancers and bands perform for the crowd. From morning till night, everyone joins in with the festivities and enjoys copious amounts of alcohol, along with Japanese and Irish food.
Along with Ireland, this volcanic island in the Caribbean is the only other country in the world where St Patrick’s Day is an official public holiday. However, the celebration isn’t quite as festive as you would imagine. The day actually marks a time when slaves unsuccessfully revolted against their predominantly Irish masters in the 17th century, and today the week long celebration is a reminder of their attempt at independence, as well as a celebration of the island’s Irish heritage. On St Patrick’s Day, the Monsterratians put on brightly coloured hats that look like bishops’ mitres, and perform Irish dancing while cracking whips through the streets as though defying their Irish masters. Before you go, check out our Montserrat Travel Guide
Dubai is known for its endless sand dunes and exotic markets such as the “Gold Souk” – but do you know that it also has an Irish Village? Actually there are two Irish Villages now, the original one in Al-Garhoud and the latest addition at Riverland in Dubai Parks and Resorts. Both have the classic Irish feel and of course, great Irish hospitality. On 17 March, head to IV (as it is locally known) at Al-Garhoud to have some good-spirited fun while drinks flow, Irish music fills the air, and people dance and eat homemade soda bread. You’d be forgiven for thinking that you were in Ireland.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is transformed into a much warmer version of Ireland when 17 March rolls around. Each year, elves, fairies, bagpipers and Irish dancers lead the St Patrick’s Day (known as el Dia de San Patricio) parade from Suipacha Street to Plaza St. Martin. Expect lots of singing, dancing, and of course, lots of drinking. You may need to look a little harder to find Guinness on tap, but plenty of excellent Argentinian beers are available to cheer you up.
The Russian Orthodox Church recognises St. Patrick as their missionary, which is why each year in March, Moscow hosts an ‘Irish Week’ celebration. The celebration includes screenings of Irish films, a St Patrick’s Day parade, and an eight-hour gala concert that showcases traditional Irish music. There are quite a few Irish pubs in Moscow that all claim to serve the best Guinness in town; perhaps you could try them all on St Patrick’s Day.