Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 2:24 PM
Ireland’s most famous day – Paddy's Day – is celebrated on March 17, in honor of (you guessed it!) Saint Patrick. On this day, which is believed to be the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death in the 5th century, Irish all over the world remember their patron saint, who is famous for two things: bringing Christianity to Ireland, and banishing all snakes from the island.
So if you walk around Dublin during the festival of St. Patrick's Day, you won’t find any snakes, but you'll probably find some of the symbols that typically decorate the streets to celebrate this date, such as the Shamrock. According to legend, this is what St. Patrick used to scare away the snakes of Ireland. You’ll also find plenty of green about, which has become synonymous with good luck for this day. Although it’s very likely that St. Patrick actually wore vestments of blue, green is so linked to the “Emerald Isle” that it is, without question, the de facto color of St. Patrick’s Day.
Five days of celebration culminate in an annual parade on the 17th of March, which always creates a carnival atmosphere, regardless of the weather. The theme of this year's parade is energy, which will certainly be displayed by participants like street performers and international marching bands. Parade aside, some of the most serious celebrations tend to happen in pubs, where young and old crowd together to enjoy a glass or two of the black stuff.
The Irish population is well represented around the world, making St. Patrick’s day a global celebration. New York’s parade is by far the biggest event in the world, with about 150,000 marchers and approximately 2 million spectators. Similar to the one in Dublin, it has street performers and infantry regiments leading the parade. This custom makes everyone feel Irish for a day.
Mark your calendar, because this coming Monday you might find a celebration near you. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!