Where to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Asia
DID YOU KNOW? St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, was an English shepherd boy before he was captured by Irish pirates. He then lived as a slave in Ireland for six years before escaping to France to join a monastery.
Upon becoming a bishop, he set sail back to Ireland where he converted the mostly pagan population to Christianity.
Soon after his arrival, the legendary stories of him started circulating. St Patrick supposedly drove all the venomous snakes in Ireland into the sea where they drowned.
He is certainly the most loved and widely celebrated Saint, which is great news for anyone who needs a good excuse to party all day on March 17 – the day St Patrick reportedly died.
Celebrations aren’t limited to Ireland though. Expats, storytellers, and party-goers have brought the legend of St Patrick across seas, mountains, and valleys so people everywhere can experience the beauty of the Irish Jig, hear the stories of protective leprechauns and sip ice cold stout with friends.
This is how St Patrick’s Day is celebrated across Asia. Clear your schedule because the fun is about to begin.
This isn’t some little celebration in one cozy Irish bar, with warm stout and old Gaelic songs. Singaporeans go all out for St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
The Singapore River is dyed green because, why not? Masses of people adorn traditional Irish dresses and parade through the streets of Singapore singing, dancing and playing music.
This is, in fact, the largest St Patrick’s Day celebration in Southeast Asia and Singapore wants the world to know about it.
Alongside the parade, the St Patrick’s Society of Singapore – mainly composed of expats – hosts a big green ball at the Shangri-La hotel with endless beer and wine on the go, live music, raffles and of course, plenty of Irish dancing.
Back in 1795, a colony of Irish convicts became rowdy as they celebrated St Patrick on March 17. Most of them ended up spending a night in a cell.
But soon enough, this day became a respected celebration and the festivities spread far and wide across Australia.
In Sydney, nearly 80,000 people attend the parade in “The Green Quarter” which starts at Hyde Park and heads up north to George Street.
The celebration is the only foreign St Patrick’s Day celebration outside of Ireland to be funded by the Irish government.
On the other side of the sprawling nation, Perth dedicates a whole week to celebrating the snake-driver. With races, competitions, children’s activities and massive parade as the finale.
Celebrators will be seeing green for days after the festivities finish.
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is the first to celebrate St Patrick’s Day every year due to the time zone difference. This is also the celebration furthest away from Ireland – a head-spinning 18,169km away, to be exact.
New Zealand gets its shamrock on in true Irish style. The itinerary differs slightly each year but throughout the month-long celebrations, there are fund-raising balls, Irish film premiers, fairs, and of course the parade along Ponsonby Road.
After the super colorful celebrations of Holi, St Patrick’s Day lights up the major cities of India in glorious shades of green.
In Mumbai, the Gateway of India goes green for St Patrick’s Day and all the Irish pubs stock up on creamy stout and turn up the jukebox playing Irish songs.
Japan has a surprisingly large Irish expat community, which makes for some super celebrations.
The St Patrick’s Day parade on Omotesando Avenue in Tokyo – organized by the Irish Network Japan – has been running since 1992 and looks to have a very bright future ahead.
The street is normally closed off between 1pm and 3pm on the day of the parade. Here you can either watch the green-garbed celebrants, including bagpipers, and people dressed as leprechauns march past or if you’d prefer, you can get directly involved and sign up as a volunteer.
Where will you be celebrating this year?