St. Patrick's Day: How to celebrate Ireland's patron saint abroad

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Published last year

Worried about missing out on St. Patrick Day festivities while living abroad? Don't stress — festive events might be taking place closer than you think, with some weird and wonderful Paddy's Day celebrations in countries you least expect!

Nisha Sawon

Editorial staff


St Patrick's Day in Japan
Aduldej /

Japan might not have the highest number of Irish expats, but it has embraced the Irish traditions and fused them with some of its own. There is a parade that takes place every year with a day of revelling including (of course) copious amounts of alcohol and food. Furthermore, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the parade, so expect a spectacular show. Tokyo isn't the only city that hosts a parade — Osaka, Nagoya, and Kyoto also host their own on different dates, so be sure to check where the closest festivities to you will be. One of the most unexpected places to celebrate St. Patrick in Japan is in the city of Ise, where the celebrations begin at the famous Ise Shrine.


St Patrick's Day in Russia
Aleoks /

Russia's celebration of St. Patrick's Day takes on more religious connotations. The Orthodox church has very recently added St. Patrick to its list of recognised saints. Though the day has previously been marked across major Russian cities as a celebration of all things Irish, it will be the first time this year that the Russian Orthodox Church will endorse it. So if you're in Saint Petersburg or Moscow, there'll be a party worth attending!


Buenos Aires at night

There are often carnivals all over South America, but it may come as a bit of a shock to find out that Buenos Aires is often cited as holding the largest St. Patrick's day celebration on the continent. The entire city undergoes a green, white and orange makeover with the city's Irish pubs taking a leading role in the revelry. Unlike other countries, there isn't a parade, but rather a melding of cultures with a city-wide street party of sorts. There is food, drink, music, and dancing by revellers, and performances of traditional Irish dancing.


Singapore at night

Singapore's St. Patrick's day celebration takes its cue from Chicago, with its green-dyed river serving as a backdrop for its impressive parade. If you're lucky enough to join in the party, you can enjoy the fact that you are in south-east Asia's largest celebration of the day. In addition to the traditional parade, there is also a street party set over the St. Patrick's Day weekend that is now in its fifth year. Expect activities for all of the family, from face-painting for the little ones to Irish rock accompanied by a pint of Guinness for the adults.


Gateway of India

India has its very own selection of Irish pubs located in some of the country's major cities. Though you might be hard pressed to find a party in the dry state of Gujarat, for example, India certainly has its fair share of St Patrick's Day activities. Like other nations featured here, celebrations tend to happen in the larger cities. A few years ago, Mumbai notably turned the Gateway of India monument green for the occasion. Aside from this, celebrations will likely be confined to bars and restaurants, where Irish whisky is preferred over a beer.


Irish Village in Dubai
Rus S /

Dubai has become home to a different St. Patrick's Day tradition. For the last decade, Boomtown Rats lead singer and political activist Bob Geldof has been reported to perform gigs in the city's Irish village. Word on the street is he'll be back again this year, so that's certainly worth keeping an eye out for if you're in the vicinity. It goes without saying that the two Irish villages in Dubai are sure to put on a show for expats in the region, from traditional food and drink to special performances at the various bars, pubs, and restaurants.