In recognition of the week that's in it, I thought I'd share some surprising places in the world that celebrate St Patrick's Day. I discovered these after reading an article recently and I was genuinely amazed!
Did you know that Montserrat is known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean? It's the only country outside of Ireland for whom March 17th is a public holiday. It's all connected to an unsuccessful slave revolt in the country about 250 years ago when the island was being colonised by European whites - most of them Irish! There is now a week-long celebration on the Island every March.
Tokyo, Japan has been hosting a St Patrick's Day parade for 25 years with over 30,000 people spectating. It was originally a way to introduce the country to Irish culture but it's really taken off and now 2000 people take part in the parade each year.
Dubai has two Irish Villages now and thanks to the huge ex-pat population, their March 17th celebrations are pretty impressive and this year is no difference with Irish Bar, McGettigan’s putting on the biggest celebration in the city. Top acts such as The Coronas, Gavin James and The Commitments will be performing throughout the day. Someone book me a flight now!
Oslo in Norway is another surprise location where a parade has been running since the year 2000. Again, driven by ex-pats, the parade is organised by the Norwegian Irish Society and is part of a weekend of celebrations called 'Paddy's Fringe Festival'
Finally, Moscow might not be necessarily a surprising venue but the history behind it is. The Russian Orthodox Church recognises St Patrick as their missionary so that's why there's a week of celebrations here too every March.
As for ourselves at Field Day Ireland - we'll be working away this St Patrick's Day getting ready to send our new branded stock out to stockists next week. But there's a wee dram of whiskey in the plan for the weekend...enjoyed while burning a suitably Irish Clover candle. Happy St Patrick's Day wherever you're celebrating yourself.