The holiday is observed in a special way on the Emerald Isle, the birthplace of all St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Not only is is a public or "bank" holiday, but this day is a Holy Day of Obligation in Ireland. The week surrounding St. Paddy's is called "Irish Language Week" and is set aside to honor Irish heritage. Although there are plenty of parades, festivals, and parties throughout the country, there is an emphasis on the solemn and spiritual side of the day, especially as Christian leaders have encouraged the Irish to "reclaim St Patrick's Day as a church festival."


Picturesque Montserrat is called the "Emerald Island of the Caribbean" because of it was founded by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis. Montserrat is one of only three places in the world where St Patrick's Day is a public holiday (along with Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador). In Montserrat, the holiday has a double purpose: It also commemorates a failed slave uprising that took place on St. Patrick's Day in 1768.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, the capital city, has a sizable community of Irish expats, and since 2015 they've honored St. Patrick's Day with the Sarajevo Irish Festival. Besides a parade and parties, the festival showcases modern Irish creativity, from flying in Irish theater companies to screening Irish films and organizing concerts of Irish folk musicians. The festival already has hosted numerous Irish artists, filmmakers and musicians in just the few short years since its inception.


Canada is one of the nations with the longest-running annual celebrations: St Patrick's Day has been celebrated in Montreal, at least, since 1759, by Irish soldiers in the Montreal Garrison. The huge Irish population in Canada makes the day one of revelry nationwide. St. Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The cities of Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto host annual parades, while many smaller celebrations and festivals take place around the country.


Scotland has a substantial Irish population, especially in the city of Glasgow and the town of Coatbridge (where the majority of the population is of Irish descent). These cities host annual parades and festivals, and many other unofficial celebrations fill the rest of the nation.


The biggest St. Patrick's Day celebration in Asia takes place every year in Malaysia: the St. Patrick's Ball, organized by the St. Patrick's Society of Selangor, which was founded in 1925. All around the country, Heineken Malaysia, which owns Guinness, organizes other parties and celebration for the day. The focus in many places is on the delicious Irish stout!

United States

While St. Patrick's Day is not a national holiday, the enormous population of Irish and Irish-Americans in the United States honor and celebrate their heritage on this day. The Chicago River is dyed green each year, most major cities host parades, and there are countless festivals to showcase Irish art, music, history, and culture.

The International Space Station

Believe it or not, St. Patrick's Day celebrations have made it even into outer space! In 2011, Irish-American astronaut Catherine Coleman played a hundred-year-old flute and a tin whistle belonging to members of the Irish music group The Chieftains while floating weightless in the space station. In 2013, astronaut Chris Hadfield took photographs of Ireland from Earth orbit, and posted online a picture of himself wearing green clothing in the space station and a recording of himself singing "Danny Boy" in space.


The history between Ireland and England has been contentious over the years (to put it mildly), but in more recent times, England has made an effort to honor the Irish on this day. Since 1901, British royals present bowls of shamrocks to members of the Irish Guards, a regiment of the British Army. The shamrocks are flown in fresh from Ireland for the occasion. In the mid-1900s, open celebration of the day was discouraged due to anti-Irish sentiment, but happily those days are past. Now several British cities, including London, hold an annual St. Patrick's Day parade and other festivals and celebrations.


Besides the parades and celebrations that characterize St. Patrick's Day in so many places around the world, Russia has a special tradition for this day: an annual Irish film festival in Moscow. The week-long event features "screenings of the most interesting cinema novelties from Ireland," and Irish actors, directors, and other special guests fly in for the occasion.