Through February and March I had been asking a few people,who were, I confess, mainly expatriates about the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin. None of them had actually been to the parade but had watched it on television.In a phone conversation with Goretti ,in a last ditch effort, I asked her about what I could or should do to be there. Being an extremely enthusiastic type, in case it is not already clear, I like to be in the middle of things-experience first hand and all that, you know. And Goretti had the answer.
The celebrations consist of fairs and fireworks through the weekend, and ,on the day itself, a parade.People line the route of the parade. Dignitaries, including the President, arrive and take their seats. Then
the Mayor arrives in a horse-drawn carriage- much like our own President used to for the 26th January parade in Delhi before the Terrorism Days began –
The brass band strikes up-
and the parade begins- a riot of color and pattern-
With the youth-
And the very young-
With plenty of ideas-
And Science fiction tableaux- all very colorful.
So St Patrick’s day Parades are very big in the United States. In fact, the first parade of its kind was supposed to have been held not anywhere in Ireland but in New York.In 1848 ! It was supposed to be the Irish immigrant community’s show of strength and identity in an environment full of prejudice and racial stereotyping.
These days prominent monuments across the world including the Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House are lit up in green by Tourism Ireland to promote Ireland- expensive but quite effective.
That is great isn’t it ? You can be a tiny country but be fabulous promoters and organizers ! Just look at St Patrick Day’s Parade and the number of people who come to see it – rain and all !