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Group of people cheering and waving Irish flags during the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City. (Reuters / Corbis)

Unusual St. Patrick's Day Celebrations

Leprechauns and green shamrocks are only a part of celebrating St. Patrick's Day for Irish communities around the world


That’s why the merriment won’t end on St. Patrick’s Day; on the 17th of every month to follow, residents will wear green to commemorate the town’s heritage.

4) Brisbane, Australia

Up to 30 percent of Australians claim some Irish heritage and there are over 50,000 Irish-born residents in Australia, according to the Australian Embassy in Ireland.

Among the celebrations is the Queensland Irish Association parade. The event portrays “The Irish Historical Story,” how men, women and children of all trades and professions were sent to Australia to help build a nation. Now in its 20th year, the march through the main streets of Brisbane City presents residents dressed up as teachers, widows and orphans, sugar cane cutters, gold miners, lawyers and stockmen.

5) New London, Wisconsin

St. Patrick’s Day officially begins in New London when the Shamrock Club, a group of residents dressed as leprechauns, sneakily changes highway signs to read New Dublin, an idea that received laughs and eventual city council approval over 20 years ago. Although German immigrants originally settled the town, an influx of Irish residents in the 19th century forever changed the town’s traditions. Now, every March, corned beef and cabbage appear on the menu at local restaurants, Irish carolers sing at the senior citizens' home and Shamrock Club members a.k.a. leprechauns, visit hospitals and schools.

The parade draws 30,000 people to the town of 7,000. In addition to a staged Finnegan’s Wake (a shout-out to the final work of Irish author James Joyce, in which a green-painted hearse drives down the parade route), bagpipe players and the high school band march down the street, following a trail of shamrocks painted on the pavement. The grand finale is “Irish Fest,” which brings Celtic bands like Rising Gael and Seven Nations to perform for visitors underneath a huge heated tent, as the average high temperature in New London is 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

6) Banwen, Wales

Members of the Banwen & District History Club in Wales, England, claim the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t Irish at all, but a local Welshman. According to their historians, St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in Banwen in A.D. 385, kidnapped by pirates at the age of 16 and sold into slavery in Ireland. On St. Patrick’s Day, members of the organization join Welsh pipers in a parade down Roman Road in Banwen toward a stone commemorating St. Patrick’s birthplace.

7) Ise, Japan


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