March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day! This traditionally Irish holiday is held once a year to observe the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The once-religious feast-day has evolved over the centuries into a unique celebration featuring food, drink, and fun.
A Brief History of St. Patrick’s Day
Irish people have observed the Roman Catholic feast-day of St. Patrick on March 17 for over 1,000 years. The holiday is timed to occur during Lent, the Christian season of prayer, penance, and repentance leading up to Easter. On St. Patrick’s Day, Lenten prohibitions are waived, and people dance, drink, and feast on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held, not in Ireland, but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers played music and marched through New York City. The event helped the soldiers build camaraderie and reconnect with their Irish roots.
How St. Patrick’s Day is Observed Around the World
Today, people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day worldwide, regardless of their religion or nationality. Take a look at these St. Patrick feast-day traditions practiced in different cultures around the world.
- United States: Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated in the United States thanks to the long-standing Irish-American culture found in numerous metro areas across the country. People typically celebrate by wearing green, eating green-colored food and drinks, and attending Irish-themed parties. It’s also common to participate in St. Patrick’s Day parades and gather in Irish pubs. The Chicago River is even dyed green to kick off St. Patty’s Day festivities in the Windy City.
- Dublin, Ireland: About one million people flock to Dublin each year to participate in the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Festival, a multi-day celebration complete with parades, concerts, theater productions, and firework displays.
- Sydney, Australia: The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the southern hemisphere occurs in Sydney. In fact, this celebration is the only one outside of Ireland that the Irish government sponsors. The massive gathering averages 80,000 people wearing green and ready to celebrate Irish culture! Family activities, local artisans, marching bands, parades, and traditional Celtic dancers give attendees plenty to see and do.
- Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo has only hosted a St. Patrick’s Day parade since 1992. Over the past three decades, the event has evolved into a fabulous mix of Irish costumes and traditional Japanese-style dress. The parade includes tap dancers, jugglers, US army bands, and members of the South Tokyo Irish Setter Club. The I Love Ireland Festival also takes place every year on March 18.
Is your family preparing for a St. Patrick’s Day feast? You’ll find everything you need at NetCost Market. As a local supermarket with a global reach, we’re committed to helping our customers save time and money while offering food from around the world. Enjoy a comfortable, convenient experience thanks to online grocery shopping and home grocery delivery. Shop at one of 12 locations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.