No matter where you are in the world, March 17 will likely be marked with a St. Patrick's Day celebration. The date marks the death of Saint Patrick, Ireland's most celebrated patron saint.
But as we all know, it's also one of the liveliest shindigs of the year. The world goes green for one day, letting loose with foamy pints of green beer and crazy-looking leprechaun hats. While 5.5-million pints of Guinness are consumed daily around the world, on St. Patrick's Day, that number skyrockets to 13 million. As U2's Bono once said: "The whole thing about Lent -- as any Irishman will tell you -- is that it stops on St Patrick's Day."
If you're travelling overseas, here are a few international sites where you can get your St. Paddy's Day on:
New York City, USA
The Big Apple hosts the biggest bash in the United States, attracting over 2 million spectators to the parade. For years, The Pogues even performed an annual show in the city on St. Patrick's Day. But there's more to St. Paddy's Day in New York than hangover. How about feeding your brain with some Irish history? Take an historic walking tour of Five Points neighbourhood and the Lower East Side, a former Irish enclave that housed more Irish residents than Dublin in the 19th-century. Since you're in the 'hood, check out the "Irish Outsiders" exhibit at the Tenement Museum.
In Tokyo, the Irish Network Japan first launched the parade in 1992 as a cultural exchange between Japan and Ireland. Since then, it's been a popular holiday celebrated with Irish costumes, performers, music, and of course, a parade. But you don't have to be in Tokyo: there are St. Patrick's Day celebrations across Japan.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Don't cry for Argentina! They aren't excluded from the party. In Buenos Aires, more than 50,000 Argentines celebrate St Patrick's Day each year. A block party is held in the downtown street of Reconquista, where a bunch of Irish pubs are clustered. The parade on March 17 ends up in Plaza San Martin, where Irish bands and Celtic dance perform in the square.
Boston is a golden oldie: the city has hosted its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade since (brace yourselves) 1737(!). It's actually the country's longest-running public parade. Plus, Boston is known as the Irish epicentre of America, with 25 per cent of Boston residents claiming to have Irish ancestry.
Pints and parades aside, the Boston Irish Tourism Association offers guided tours of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail. Over a few hours, an expert guide illuminates 300 years of the city's Irish history, including the Irish role in the Revolution and Civil War, the Potato Famine generation, and influential political figures with Irish ancestry, such as the Kennedys. Learnin' stuff: it feels good.
Well, duh! Of course Ireland is a prime spot to celebrate the holiday. Every year, Dublin hosts a multi-day festival with everything from salsa dancing to céilís (traditional dances), and a colourful parade that attracts over one-million visitors.
If you visit Ireland for St. Paddy's, also consider celebrating outside Dublin. A kickass party and an equally authentic experience is pretty much guaranteed in any town. For instance, the St. Patrick's Day parade in County Wexford is the oldest one in Ireland. It began in 1917 and is still going strong. Cork's festival has a food and crafts market, as well as music, street performers and children's workshops. Besides, smaller towns may have fewer tourists, allowing you to enjoy a foamy pint of Murphy's while rubbing shoulders with the locals.
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