Every year people of Irish-descent honor the life of Ireland's patron saint, St. Patrick, who brought Christianity and Catholicism to Ireland in the early 5th century. Since his death on March 17, 461, Irish Catholics and now millions of others around the world celebrate, whether they know the origins of the day or not, through parties and parades.
Celebrations that get the most publicity take place in New York City, where they held the first St. Patrick's Day parade in 1762; and Chicago, where they dye the Chicago River green. In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday where families take the day off. For tourists and others, there are parades, festivals and concerts that take place over four days.
The day is also honored in unique ways in other places around the world where you might not expect.
Montserrat: Also known as the "other Emerald Isle," this Caribbean island used to be a refuge for Irish Catholics in the 17th century. An unsuccessful slave revolt also happened on one St. Patrick's Day in 1768. Montserrat's St. Patrick's Day celebrations include African and Irish music performances, a freedom run and a re-created slave village, according to visitmontserrat.com.
Buenos Aires: In the 19th century, Irish immigrants fled to Argentina from the Great Potato Famine. Today, Argentina has the fifth largest Irish population in the world, according to hostelworld.com. You won't find a parade for St. Patrick's Day, but Argentines celebrates with giant block parties in the city's Retiro district.
Tokyo: The first St. Patrick's Day parade in Japan took place here 25 years ago, an event started by the Irish Network Japan, a nonprofit that promotes cultural exchanges between Ireland and Japan. Today, the network sponsors St. Patrick's Day parades in cities such as Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and Fukuoka.
Auckland, New Zealand: Adam Farley with Irish Network said Auckland is the first city to celebrate St. Patrick's Day since midnight March 17 occurs in New Zealand before other large population centers begin to celebrate. Auckland's 1,076-foot Sky Tower will don the Ireland flag colors during St. Patrick's Day.
Dubai, U.A.E: Tourists, expatriates and residents alike celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the United Arab Emirates by visiting Irish pubs located in Dubai's Irish Village, according to Irish Network.. This year marks the seventh time the towering Burj Al Arab hotel will be lighted green on St. Patrick's Day.Comment on this story
Sydney, Australia: Catholic.org ranks Sydney's St. Patrick Day's parade as the second largest in the world (next to New York). Sydney streets are filled with food stalls, live music and performances on St. Patrick's Day.
Munich, Germany: About Travel said the biggest Irish party in Germany (and all of Europe) happens here. The St. Patrick's Day parade takes place the Sunday before the holiday and typically begins with an Irish Mass, and then a blessing on the parade by a priest.