Ever wondered if you’re missing out by celebrating St. Patrick’s Day away from Dublin? It used to be that if you were American, the answer was almost certainly no. Up until the 1980s or so, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was a staid affair, a religious holiday where families would come together to share a meal in honor of Ireland’s patron saint and maybe go to Mass.
But by the late 1990s, during the boom of the Celtic Tiger, Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day traditions had grown tremendously in size, and today the celebrations take place not just on March 17th, but during the entire week. Americans get just one lousy day.
At the same time that Ireland was expanding its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, America held fast to its marching tradition, and now it is more common to see huge parade floats, games, and festivities in Ireland than here.
In both countries, the celebrations are by and large family friendly (at least during the day time!) with plenty of opportunity to wear your brightest green colors. Pinching for not wearing green isn’t really a practice in Ireland, so if you are the type of person who tries to avoid personal contact, head across the pond.
Conversely, if you can’t go a St. Patrick’s Day without eating corned beef and cabbage, you’re better off staying put in the U.S. since this is a tradition started by Irish Americans, rather than a homegrown one.
But the biggest difference between St. Patrick’s Day in America versus Ireland is that in Ireland, the day is a national holiday, meaning everyone has the day off from work. In fact, the only other country where this is the case is the small Caribbean island of Montserrat. So, all other aspects of the holiday being equal, we’ve got to give this one to Ireland.
Are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year? Tell us how in the comments below!