Every year the United States celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17 to remember one of the largest patron saints of Ireland, St. Patrick. According to the legend, St Patrick had subjected himself to a 40-day fast on the top of the hill and chased all snakes into the sea after they attacked him.

The symbol of this holiday is the shamrock, a three-leaf clover that represents the Holy Trinity. St. Patrick’s Day is the event that started as a religious holiday, but over time it’s become a great celebration of Irish culture. Despite the fact that St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a federal holiday, different cities celebrate it with big parades, Irish foods and drinks, live music, and all things green. Everyone is a little Irish on March 17.

St. Patrick’s Day celebration can give you vivid impressions, an unforgettable experience, and joy. So, bring out your green and read the article to find out common St. Patrick’s Day activities, traditional St. Patrick’s Day drinks, best places to celebrate the holiday, and, certainly, St. Patrick’s Day safety tips not to turn your celebration into a crushing disappointment.

9 Most Popular Activities on St. Patrick’s Day

How do you usually celebrate this day? You put on something green with shamrock, eat corned beef, cabbage and drink green beer. However, you can do much more, and some fun activities and tips on how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day are as follows:

1. Host a St. Patrick’s Day party with Irish dances

Set a dress code with green attire, like wearing a green T-shirt with a large shamrock on it, Irish flags of green, white and orange. Provide your guests with entering word, Irish-related sayings (like "Kiss me, I'm Irish!") or St Patrick's song like this one: 
I'm looking over a four-leaf clover
That I overlooked before.
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain,
Third is the roses that grow in the lane

2. Prepare traditional St. Patrick's Day food

Traditional St. Patrick's Day food includes corned beef, cabbage, lamb stew, Irish soda bread, potato bread, black pudding, pink bacon and savory roast chicken, etc. In this funny video, you can find St. Patrick's Day recipes on how to prepare corned beef and beers.

3. Learn how to céili (kay-lee) dance

It’s Irish social dancing. And then, organize an Irish dancing competition. Play St. Patrick's Day games, like “Hot potato”, "Pot o' Gold" treasure hunt (a search for gold chocolate coins), etc.

4. Visit a St. Patrick's Day Parade

Most large cities, such as New York City, Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Chicago have parades. Put on something green and enjoy Irish music, dancing and get some free candy.

5. Watch Irish movies

If you are not attending parades or hosting parties, but prefer a family evening, you might as well watch Irish movies. The best ones are The Secret of Roan Inish, Waking Ned Devine, Into the West, Circle of Friends, etc.

6. Organize a traditional pub crawl and drink beer

Most bars and pubs offer special prices on draft beer, food, and cover charges. Not only beer is popular on this day, but other famous Irish drinks, too. You can try a pint of Bulmers (or Magners) cider, Smithwick's ale, Jameson Irish whiskey or some Bailey's Irish cream. Watch this video for more information about St. Patrick's Day celebration.

You’d rather read reviews about the places you are going to visit during the holiday period. Otherwise, you can come across a very unpleasant situation. One Pissed Consumer user wrote a review about Waffle House. The person decided to visit the restaurant the day after St. Patrick’s Day and remained deeply dissatisfied:

“My wife and I went to Waffle House the day after Saint Patrick's Day on Piedmont Road in Atlanta Georgia. The bathrooms were extremely dirty, the restaurant inside and outside was extremely dirty...”

7. Plan a St. Pat’s Scavenger Hunt

Test your luck this year by setting up a scavenger hunt with your friends, relatives, or kids. You can hide a lot of interesting festive elements including St. Patrick’s Day decorations, treats, and gifts. Do not forget about clues, and who knows, you might find the pot of gold coins at the end of the rainbow.

8. Have an Irish Coffee

 More than traditional St. Patrick’s Day food like corned beef and cabbage, the collection of St. Patrick’s Day recipes includes delicious Irish coffee, the tastiest cocktail that consists of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, brown sugar, topped with cream. You can also sprinkle some chocolate on the top of the cream. Savor it slowly and enjoy the moment.

9. Prepare gifts for your family and friends

St. Patrick’s Day is a perfect opportunity to give a gift to someone you care for. Start considering your St. Patrick’s Day gift ideas in advance to have enough time for preparation. Do not forget that any holiday is a hot time for most stores. So, you may come across the problems with shipping, ordering, or both. Be careful, check out reviews and consumer’s feedback to avoid any unpleasant situations like the following Pissed Consumer user who purchased a Knilling Violin for St. Patrick’s Day sale, but never received the order:

“Purchased a Knilling Violin online for St Patrick's day sale. Item shows up as In Stock and my card shows the money is withdrawn from my account. But I don't receive any tracking info. I wait a couple of days and still nothing. So I go and look into the issue deeper.

So I log into my account at Musicarts.com I see that item status is Backordered, But still showing up as In stock if you want to add it into your cart. So then I look up Music Arts.com and see all these complaints into this company, I got to admit I'm beginning to get a little nervous...”

Top 9 Places to Go Celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Traveling is one of the most favorite common St. Patrick's Day activities. Even if you have no opportunity to visit Ireland, you can find some great U.S. destinations and get in the Irish spirit.

1. South Boston, Massachusetts

It is one of the best places to get in the spirit because almost a quarter of Boston citizens claim Irish ancestry. You can watch a parade or participate in it. To march in the parade, you should download Application form and Code of Conduct form, fill in the application, sign, and mail before February 16, 2018. Visit Harpoon St. Patrick's Festival weekend. It begins on March, 18th, 2018. You can have a great time by joining such events as Harpoon Mac & Cheers Challenge, Shamrock Splash, listening to live music and having St. Patrick’s Day food and beer.

2. Savannah, Georgia

It organizes one of the largest parades in the U.S. The St Patrick's Day Parade will start on March 17th , at 10:15 am, whereas St. Patrick's Day celebration is initiated much earlier, on March, 4th , by Public Investiture of the Grand Marshal. The list of events includes greening of fountain, tree planting ceremony, Celtic Cross reception, Mass-Feast of St Patrick's parade, etc.

3. New York City, New York

It hosts the world’s biggest parade with 150,000 people participating and about 2 million more bystanders lining the route along FiLondon, Enfth Avenue. It begins at 11:00 a.m. on March 17. Pay attention: no consumption of alcohol is permitted, people displaying public drunkenness will be removed from the Parade route.

4. Chicago, Illinois

It provides pub crawls and lively parades. One of the world's most famous St. Patrick's Day rituals is dyeing of the Chicago river which turns emerald green. The dyeing starts on March, 17th, at 9:00 am, followed by the Down Town parade at 1:00 pm. You will see plenty of colorful floats waving their green/white/orange flags high, Irish step dancers, marching bands and bagpipers, etc.

5. Hot Springs, Arkansas

It organizes Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade, which celebrates the 15th anniversary this year. The events start with a Grand Funk Railroad concert the day before the parade, on March, 16th. The official starter for the 2018 parade will be Jon Heder, who became an overnight sensation due to “Napoleon Dynamite”. If you want to participate in the parade, you can fill in the Form.

St Patrick's day celebration

6. Dublin, Ireland

It is definitely the number 1 place to celebrate St Patrick's Day as here everyone becomes Irish. The 2018 parade theme is “Home is Where the Heart Is”. The list of events includes City Fusion the Festival's in house Community Arts Participation Project, marching bands (La Cañada High School Marching Spartans, The Lumberjack Marching Band, etc.). Dublin star of the stage and screen Liam Cunningham will lead this year’s Festival Parade starting at 12 noon on March, 17th. The celebration will last for 5 days, beginning March, 15th.

7. Montreal, Canada 

It has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a parade since 1824. The 195th Montreal St. Patrick's Day Parade begins at 12:00 p.m. on March, 18th, 2018 and will last for about two hours. The list of events includes floats, marching bands, bagpipes and a giant Saint Patrick figure. You can find Irish pubs in the downtown area that serve St. Patrick’s Day food, beer and Irish coffee with live music.

8. London, England

It marks St Patrick’s Day with fun and great events. The parade starts on March, 18th at Trafalgar Square. You can visit many Irish pubs and drink Guinness, enjoy a traditional Irish celi filled with dances, food, and whiskey beneath the hull of Cutty Sark.

9. Sydney, Australia

It is famous for Paddy’s Markets - the open-air markets that became traditional on St Patrick's Day thanks to Irish migrants. You can also eat and drink beer in Irish-inspired pubs. Another spot is a Green Gathering with local crafts, Irish beverages, Irish dancers and marching bands at Prince Alfred Park. The celebration starts on March, 18th, at 12:00 with a parade.

Top Saint Patrick’s Day Safety Tips

St. Patrick’s Day is originally religious feasting. However, nowadays it is associated with parades and drinking Irish whiskey and beer. According to statistics, 20% of Americans are planning on having a drink to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This can lead to losing your luck. Thus, consider the following top safety tips for St Patrick’s Day:

  • Plan in advance how to get home after a parade. Make necessary arrangements like calling a friend or family member, using public transportation, a local taxi service or renting a room at a hotel within walking distance.
  • Don’t sit in a car with a drunk driver. Unfortunately, drunken driving spikes on St. Patrick’s Day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported several Patricks’s Day facts including a considerable increase in crashes involving a drunken driver during the holiday.
  • If you drive a car, be defensive and keep an eye on pedestrians as they may be drunk.
  • Try to stay within the limits when drinking. Don’t forget about food and water.
  • Don’t take any valuables to a parade, leave them at home. Or make sure to keep your valuable possessions safe since pickpockets and thieves usually try their luck in crowded environments.
  • Do not forget about crowd safety. The Patrick’s Day activities bring a lot of tourism to cities and towns making them much busier than they normally are. This is particularly true about St. Patrick’s Day Parades. When in a crowd, you should remain alert and have a plan on how to get out of the crowd if things become unruly. If you have children, you’d better avoid crowds. In a crowd, you should keep your children close at all times. Make sure that your children know how to seek assistance should you get separated.
  • Do not let your guard down in local pubs. Visiting local pubs and bars is one of the most popular Patrick’s Day traditions. Looking for the festive spirit, do not forget about pub safety. Keep your drink in the view and never accept drinks from a stranger. Do not leave your handbag by your feet or your cell phone on the table so as not to put temptation in the way of thieves.
  • In case of any accident, you can do the following:
    • Call 911.
    • Call the U-M Division of Public Safety and Security on 734-763-1131.
    • File a Police Report.
    • Take Pictures of Accident Scene.

St. Patrick's Day celebration offers a wide range of opportunities for new emotions. You can dive into the atmosphere of joy, interesting traditions regardless of your ethnic background. Learn about the best activities and some travel safety tips beforehand and enjoy this day.

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