Image Credit: Mike Young  Sydney Opera House 

More than 70 million people worldwide claim ancestral links to Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day is a cherished opportunity to revitalize this heritage. For the second year in a row, some of the world’s largest St. Patrick’s events will segue to creative online venues. For centuries countries have found numerous ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Today the virtual global celebrations held by the Irish communities worldwide are fascinating. 

Global Greening: The largest Global Greening of approximately 690 colored or illuminated well-known global sites in 66 nations will occur this year. Our world will segue to a shade of Irish green with a repeat of the global greening that began in 2010 with the Sydney Opera House and the Auckland Sky Tower turned green. A new addition for 2021 is the most northern global greening ever: a postal box located 350 kms above the Arctic Circle at the summit of Øretoppen Mountain in Norway.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, says “… we aim to bring some positivity and hope to our diaspora across the globe … more than 70 million people around the world claim links to Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to reconnect them with their heritage.

Ireland: This year, a rich and dynamic virtual program created by hundreds of artists, musicians, painters, and community organizations across Ireland will offer a celebration of Ireland’s contemporary culture and traditional heritage on St. Patrick’s Festival TV for six days and nights. Musicians include Lisa O’Neill, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Seamus and Ronan Ó Flatharta, Diarmuid and Brian Mac Gloin, Cormac Begley, Ronan O’ Snodaigh and Myles O’ Reilly. Numerous global greening sites include Bunratty Castle in Clare and Aillwee Caves in the Burren.

Argentina: Home to the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in South America, Buenos Aires doesn’t host a parade but rather an annual street festival in the heart of the city known as the “Paris of South America.” The event has featured music, dance performances by Celtic Argentina, with beer shared among family and friends.

Australia: Sydney hosts the largest community of Irish immigrants in the nation, and the city’s major sites are colored or illuminated with an Irish green hue; the Sydney Opera House started the global greening in 2010. Historically, Sydney welcomes over 80,000 people annually for the biggest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the southern hemisphere; it’s the only celebration outside of Ireland sponsored by the Irish government. 

Montserrat: On this Caribbean island, St. Patrick’s Day is also the country’s Independence Day, a public holiday, and this year the 251st anniversary. On March 17, 1768, slaves across Montserrat revolted against their European colonial masters, the majority, approximately seventy percent, of whom were Irish. This historic uprising is celebrated with a week-long festival, including traditional costumes, dancing, food, and a Masquerade. 

New Zealand: As the largest city in the New Zealand Daylight Time zone, Auckland has historically been the first to begin the St. Patrick’s celebration. However, this year, the annual parade has been postponed to Saturday, March 20, and will proceed at Level 1 Covid restrictions in a new location. The organizers are monitoring the Ministry of Health’s advice and plan to notify the public of any change to event planning. Auckland’s Sky Tower will be illuminated in Irish green.

United States: New York’s Oculus transit hub near the World Trade Center is a newcomer to the global greening this year. Parades in most major US cities are cancelled again for a second year due to the pandemic. The New York St. Patrick’s Day parade originating in 1762 will occur on a smaller scale at an undisclosed time. Hilton Head, South Carolina is hosting a boat parade. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania organizers plan a September parade pending completion of the U.S. vaccination program.

Whether you’re celebrating virtually or quietly at home with family or friends, have a fun-filled, safe St. Patrick’s Day, and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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