7 Unique St. Patty’s Day Celebrations Around the World

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Dublin is famous for its St. Patrick’s Day spirit, but between the green clothing, abundance of Guinness and drunken revelers stumbling through Temple Bar, it gets a bit old.

If you’ve been there and done that, try a different leprechaun hat on for size. Here are five unique St. Patty’s Day celebrations held in settings worth traveling to. Which one will you be attending?

1. Dying the River Green, Chicago, Illinois


Photo via Flickr/Ian Freimuth

The 40-year-old tradition continues as the city dyes the Chicago River green in celebration of the holiday. This year’s festivities are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. March 14, followed by the annual parade through downtown.

2. Whiskey Tasting in JFK Airport, New York, New York

Why wait until St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate? Tullamore D.E.W. is providing samples of their whiskey at Terminal 5 in JFK International Airport through March 17. The company is doing their best to bring Dublin to America; there will be traditional Irish music and an opportunity to try your hand at playing the bodhrán, a traditional Irish hand drum, or make music with a xylophone made of partially filled bottles.

3. Three-Legged Charity Race, Copenhagen, Denmark

Each year participants don green clothing and race around the city drinking a half pint of Carlsberg beer at each pub along the route, in three-legged fashion. All proceeds are donated to the Neonatal Department at Rigshospitalet Copenhagen.

4. Irlanda in Festa, Italy and Ireland

This free multiday festival that occurs in various Italian and Irish cities consists of live music, food and drink. This year festivities all begin or end on the 17th. What started in Italy now attracts thousands of visitors who avidly consume Italian interpretations of Irish food and drink, including potato soup, beef in Guinness, smoked salmon and gallons of stout.

5. Parade and Emerald Ball, Tokyo, Japan


Photo via Flickr/Hideya Hamano

Tokyo has an unexpected amount of Irish heritage in its population. This year will mark the 22nd Emerald Ball, hosted by the Irish Network Japan to celebrate the friendship that ties Ireland and Japan together. The event involves a parade featuring Irish dance, an Army band, Japanese cheerleaders and elaborate floats and costumes.

6. Oregon versus Ireland Amateur Boxing, Portland, Oregon

The “Oregon versus Ireland” amateur boxing match, now in its fifth year, is quickly becoming a St. Patrick’s Day staple in Oregon. The live fight occurs March 13, kicking off Irish Pub Kells’ five-day St. Patty’s festival. The goal is to showcase the different fighting styles of each country while entertaining, of course. The Irish team is flown in from Ireland and the American team is made up of boxers from all over the Pacific Northwest.

7. International Band Championship, Limerick, Ireland

Interntional Band Championship.jpg

Photo via Flickr/William Murphy

On March 15, 22 marching bands will compete for the title of “Overall Parade Champion” in Limerick’s International Band Championship. One of Limerick’s many St. Patty’s Day festival events, the competition attracts approximately 50,000 spectators who wish to see marching bands from all over the world go head to head. Representing the U.S. are groups like the Chicago Police Band and the University of Southern Mississippi.