It's the time for four leaf clovers, leprechauns, beer, and pots of gold. It’s the season where Guinness flows from the taps and nostalgic songs for the old country are heard across the world. Whether you're young or old, Irish or international, there seems to be something for everyone to enjoy during the 17th of March celebrations. Communities can come together to celebrate a rich heritage, a famous saint... And an excuse to pull a pint before midday!
St. Patrick’s Day is also known as the Feast of St. Patrick in honor of one of the Patron Saints of Ireland. Saint Patrick was a real person, but not much is known about him. He's credited with using the three-leaf clover for explaining the Trinity to Irish pagans (which is why the shamrock is affiliated with the holiday), and while he was originally known for wearing blue, the color green slowly took over as time progressed, probably a reference to Ireland. The country is often known as the 'Emerald Isle' or the 'forty shades of green' in recognition of its lush and highly concentrated vegetation.
Since Saint Patrick’s time, St. Patrick’s Day has expanded outside the Gaelic community. With large-scale Irish emigration and a popularisation of the Irish culture in the media, large, wide-scale celebrations began to take place all over the world on March 17th. Of course it can be argued that the religious significance of the holiday may very well be lost in the drinking and merriment, as these celebrations have become more about Irish culture than the country's Patron Saint. There are numerous celebrations around the world from Sydney, Australia to Tokyo, Japan that definitely deserve mentioning. . Even Cleveland, Ohio had a record-breaking 500,000-attendee number in 2012 for their celebrations. You can also catch St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Dubai, South Korea, and even parts of Africa.
So which cities across the world are the Irish, the ex-pats and the Irish-lovers flocking to this weekend? Here's our guide to the ten largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world this year.
10 London, England – 100,000 Attendees
9 Vancouver, Canada – 250,000 Attendees
8 Toronto, Canada – 300,000 Attendees
7 Chicago, Illinois USA – 400,000 Attendees
6 Holyoke, Massachusetts USA – 400,000 Attendees
5 Montreal, Canada – 600,000 Attendees
4 Dublin, Ireland – 675,000 Attendees
3 Savannah, Georgia USA – 750,000 Attendees
Savannah really greens up the South with green fountains, green grits, and Southern hospitality merging with Irish comradery. Being the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the South and one of the largest celebrations in the United States, Savannah kicks off their festivities with parades and entertainment that stretch through the weekend. The parade dates back to 1813 and with the exception of Civil War disturbances the parade has run for 200 years. With a long line of success like that, it’s no surprise that Savannah has such a successful celebration that continues to attract new attendees each year.
2 Boston, Massachusetts USA – 850,000 Attendees
1 New York City, New York USA – 2 Million Attendees
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