On March 17, the world will glow green as the patron saint of Ireland is honoured and Irish culture is celebrated across the globe. This holiday has become a world-wide phenomenon, with famous monuments – including the leaning Tower of Pisa, the Berlin Tower, Niagara Falls and, most importantly, Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland Paris – all illuminated in emerald green, signifying their country’s strong connection to Ireland.
The celebratory traditions we now follow on this day originate from America, with the first parade held in New York City in 1762. Early Irish settlers in America brought this commemorative tradition to the US and, as more of the Irish migrated to America throughout the mid-19th century, it has become a day recognised by many Irish Americans to celebrate their family history.
This international celebration will be taking over Edinburgh this week and there are a number of ways of getting involved in the festivities.
The Three Sisters in Cowgate will be holding their annual St Patrick’s Day Festival, running from Thursday 16 until Sunday 19. Check out the Facebook event if you are interested, where 1,500 have already hit ‘going’ and another 2,300 people are ‘interested’: it is guaranteed to be buzzing. Ritchie Remo, Boyzlife, Edele Lynch and Frost Bit Boy will be playing, with more acts still to be announced. The Three Sisters is bound to get you in the celebratory spirit and is the perfect place to sip one too many pints of Guinness with friends whilst dancing and singing along to the live music.
Alternatively, McSorely’s, previously known as Malones, is holding their St Patrick’s weekend event at Edinburgh Waverley Mall. McSorely’s is known for offering an authentic Irish experience, which will be sure to transfer over to the Waverley Mall, guaranteeing good craic. Irish dance troupe Rhythm Jig will fill the day with Irish dancing, and there will be street food from Pizza Geeks and Firedogs.
If a weekend spent drinking in rowdy pubs is not your cup of tea, then why not try your hand at recreating some authentic Irish food with friends? Have a go at making some soda bread or a traditional Irish stew in celebration of St Patrick’s Day.
Us Scots may not pay homage to our patron saint in the same way the Irish do, but we can give them a run for their money when it comes to a day of drinking. So for those of you who are able to revive yourself from a boozy day at one of Edinburgh’s Irish pubs, or if you are needing a relief from a day spent in the library, then head to Hive on Friday March 17, where they will be holding their St Patrick’s Day event. With free green and white glow sticks, free UV face painting and a list of special cocktails including a ‘Shamrock’, a ‘Baby Guinness’ and ‘Everybody’s Irish!’, it will certainly be a night to remember.
St Patrick’s Day began in Ireland as holiday to celebrate the life of Saint Patrick, who is said to have come to Ireland as a missionary after six years of slavery. Spreading the message of Christ to many who were unaware of Christianity, he used the shamrock to teach about the Holy Trinity, making this an appropriate symbol for St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Traditionally in Ireland, March 17 would begin with mass following a feast with friends and family; however, this day has evolved into an international celebration for all. So, regardless of whether or not you are Irish, make sure to get your green attire on this Friday and involve yourself in this celebration of Irish culture and heritage: it shall be grand!