Many people carry the assumption that Ireland – or even New York, Boston and Chicago – are where the most extravagant St. Patrick’s Day festivities are held on March 17th. Although yes, there are fantastic celebrations throughout Ireland (and the ex-pat strongholds in the US) on this day, they’re not actually the best and biggest. St Patrick’s Day is the one day of the year where everyone and anyone can drop their heritage, culture and general way of life, to turn thoroughly Irish. It, therefore, makes sense that other countries worldwide would take extra advantage of this special day.
These are some of the biggest celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day around the world, outside of Ireland and the USA – hosted in places you may find surprising.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
With more than 500,000 Irish people in Argentina, its no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day is a notable event in this South American country. Buenos Aires hosts a vibrant celebration in honour of St. Patrick organised by the Argentina-Ireland Association and the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires. On Saturday the 7th of March an event called ‘Buenos Aires Celebra Irlanda’ will take place. This event celebrates all things Irish with a U2 tribute, traditional Irish food, Irish dancing and of course, Irish beer. This marks the beginning of the many celebrations that will continue until the 17th. The day itself will consist of live music, dance, activities and a parade!
St Patrick’s Day shares the same date as the slave uprising that took place on March 17th 1768 in Montserrat. Therefore, this Caribbean island is one of the few places where St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday and they take full advantage of this. A 10-day festival takes place starting on March the 6th until the 17th. A unique mix of the Irish and African heritage is celebrated with games, hikes, parties, ceremonies and pub nights!
Munich hosts one of the biggest St Patrick’s Day parades in Europe. The first parade was held in 1996 by a group of Irish people, expecting a turn out of around 200 people. 3000 people attended that March 17th and it has only grown stronger since. Today, the parade consists of more than 1500 participants, vibrant floats, entertainers, music and Irish football and dancing clubs.
There was a surprisingly large Irish population at the time of this Southern city’s first parade in 1813. The parade is now the second largest in the world with green fountains, marching bands and over 300,000 attendees. St Patrick’s Day has transformed the entire month of March into one of the most popular times to visit Savannah! Expect traditional Irish ceremonies, live music, outdoor celebrations and family-friendly festivals.
Paris is going all out this year with a string of St. Patrick’s Day festivities! These include the ‘greening’ of well-known monuments, traditional music concerts performed by authentic Irish acts, street performances and of course, a parade. In fact, even Disneyland Paris is getting involved! Green-dressed Disney characters, Irish dancers and face-painters will parade through Disney Village in song and cheer with a striking green fireworks display to tie up the evening.
Auckland, New Zealand
In 1995 a group of Irishmen introduced St. Patrick’s Day Festival to Auckland to honour the connections that Ireland has made with New Zealand. 2018 was the year that Auckland’s parade made its first big break, with thousands of attendees. The festival starts with the parade on Saturday the 14th at midday and following that, an Irish Music and Dance Festival later on. Due to its timezone, Auckland will be kicking things off this year as Auckland’s Sky Tower and Eden Park are lit up in green.
The first parade took place more than 200 years ago and is now one of the largest in the world! In fact, it is the only event in the world outside of Ireland that is organised and funded with support from the Irish government. Despite the heavy downpour of rain that seems to occur, thousands of dedicated festival-goers attend the celebrations hosted at ‘The Rocks’. This year promises to be a thriving day with an extensive parade, live music, storytelling, face painting and food and craft stalls. Along with the rest of the city, the Sydney Opera House turns green every year for St. Patrick’s Day.
Lastly, Montreal’s celebrations have taken place every year since the first Montreal St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1824. This year will mark the 197th consecutive parade. Each year, a contest is organised to select a queen and princesses for the parade. The three-hour spectacular includes vibrant floats, dazzling costumes and an impressive St Patrick statue.