As the Irish Diaspora spread across the globe, so too did celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day – which traditionally commemorates Ireland’s patron saint who brought Christianity to it.
St. Patrick’s Day is not only a national holiday in Ireland, but also on the Caribbean Island Montserrat and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Montserrat, known as the ‘Emerald Island of the Caribbean’ for its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Although this is a national holiday in Ireland, the celebration has become inclusive of anyone with many other nationalities taking part in parades and parties. For instance, many Argentinean cities host all-night parties in the streets and it is thought that most of those who take part have no Irish ancestry. Argentina’s Irish community which is thought to be the fifth largest in the world plays no role in organising these parties.
Across the US, about 36 million people are of Irish descent and since 1991, the entire month of March has been recognised as Irish-American Heritage Month. Last year US President Barrack Obama explained “it’s a testament I think to how close our two countries are that America has been shaped culturally, politically, economically by the incredible contributions of Irish Americans”.