March 17 is fast approaching, leading many across Canada to look for green clothes to wear, parades to attend, or friends to celebrate with over some Irish beer or whiskey. It’s a time when people from different cultures can share in honouring the death of Ireland’s patron saint and Irish culture in general. And what better time for people from different heritages to come together to celebrate one of our country’s most vibrant cultures than during Canada’s 150, when we honour 150 years of diversity in Canada?
In many cases, people in Ireland and areas with large populations of Irish immigrant descendants including Canada, the US and UK, hold parties, parades and trips to the pub to sing traditional Irish songs, toast famous Irish poets, writers and other celebrities, and recognize the most beloved traditions in Irish history, culture and heritage.
Falling near the beginning of Spring in Canada, St. Patrick’s Day is often one of the first parades of the year, with events in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax that attract thousands of spectators – no matter what the weather.
If you plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Canada this year, don’t forget to bring:
Something green: Whether you’re taking the day to celebrate in the streets , at a party or just heading into work, wear something green to show everyone you’re honouring everything Irish on March 17.
Your best singing voice: If you’re at a St. Patrick’s Day event, you likely won’t get by away without taking part in a sing-a-long. Some popular favourites are “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”, “Galway Bay” and “Danny Boy”.
Enjoy a green drink: Whether it’s beer or something non-alcoholic like soda water or gingerale, adding green food colouring to drinks is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Chicago even turns part of the Chicago River green every year – which people don’t drink, but actually swim in instead!
Corned beef and cabbage: A traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal in the US that dates back to when it was one of the cheapest meals for poor Irish immigrants to make when they first arrived in port cities like New York and Boston.
Sport a shamrock: Said to have been used by St. Patrick to explain the holy trinity to Irish pagans, the shamrock is a three-leaved clover that grows abundantly in Ireland and many other parts of the world. It’s also a symbol for St. Patrick’s Day – and Ireland in general.