Saint Patrick’s Day 2016: A Global Celebration for Irish and Non-Irish Alike
Saint Patrick’s Day, known officially as the Feast of Saint Patrick, was originally a religious celebration, which has turned into a worldwide cultural day commemorating the death of St Patrick. As February morphs into March, one popular question trips off the tongue of many fans of St Patrick’s Day: “When is St Patrick’s Day 2016?” And the answer is: Thursday March 17. Just a wee bit of waiting and the big day is here.
New York Knows How to Go Green on St Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day is celebrated across the globe by people of Irish descent and the non-Irish, as well, which is the basis for the well-known catchphrase, “Everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.” Green is the colour of the day (food, clothes, etc.), and parades abound in places as far flung as New York City and Australia. The Saint Patrick’s Day parade in New York is close to an all-day affair, starting at 11:00 am, making its way down NYC’s famed Fifth Avenue, passing the iconic St Patrick’s Cathedral in the process, and finishing up at the American Irish Historical Society, roughly at 5:00 pm. The New York Police Department (NYPD) is always a major presence at the parade, due, of course, to the large number of police officers of Irish descent.
The UK: St Pat’s Central
Despite the global embrace of St Patrick’s Day, for the true essence of the day, celebrants should travel to the UK where the fun is not limited to the one day. The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland, is the centrepiece of a multi-day festival that brings in revellers from around the world. Celebrants can expect bands, dancers, leprechauns, green clothing, and an unparalleled level of excitement. The starting point of the Dublin parade is Parnell Square, and from there the colourful parade route winds through the city’s appropriately decorated streets.
London celebrates St Patrick’s Day in all its glory, with events ranging from a brilliant parade, with floats and marching bands, to St Patrick’s Day Thursday at the Cheltenham Festival. The 2016 parade – which will take place on Sunday, 13 March – will leave Piccadilly Circle at around noon and find its way to Trafalgar Square, where viewers will be entertained by great performers, local dance schools, marching bands, a family-oriented street fair, an Irish food market, comedy shows, and Irish-themed films.
St Patrick’s Day at Cheltenham: the Ultimate Celebration
The third day of the all-important Cheltenham Festival – one of the UK’s premier horseracing events – is always St Patrick’s Thursday. In 2016, the two days correspond, making it even more of a reason to celebrate. Though the races are the biggest attraction of St Patrick’s Thursday, great Irish entertainment is also on hand, and this year attendees can look forward to performances by The Dublin Legends. The two most important races of the day are the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase, although a new race has been added to the card this year: the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novice Hurdle. As in most years, betting may break records, making St Patrick’s Day 2016 truly unforgettable to horse and human alike.