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St Patrick’s Day is cheeky leprechauns, rowdy pub sing-a-longs and foamy pints of Guinness. Whether you’re a St Patty’s veteran who cracks open their first Guinness at the morning alarm or a newbie approaching the whole green-spattered event with justified caution, this raucous Irish celebration can be tremendous fun. From Dublin to Denver, you’re bound to find an Irish pub that is pulling pints of the dark stuff. Here’s how to make the most out of the day:

Image from Flickr user: Sonny Abesamis

Know the person you’re celebrating

Ask anyone who St Patrick was, and you’re guaranteed to get a room full of stumped people scratching their ginger beards and wondering if he was a leprechaun. The truth is, St Patrick’s Day is steeped in history and more than a little bit of folklore. After all, we’re talking about the fourth century. Patrick, before becoming a saint, was born in Roman Britain and at the age of sixteen was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Gaelic Ireland. While there, he made the most of his situation, looked after some sheep, found God and eventually returned home after six years. When he came back, Patrick would spend his life converting the Pagan Irish to Christianity. Patrick's little token, the shamrock, was used as a tool to explain the Holy Trinity, and it is this plant with its three leaves that is a symbol of the day. March 17th, better known as St Patrick’s Day, is when the Saint died.

But what about Leprechauns, Guinness and wearing those silly hats?

Nowadays, the celebration has become less about celebrating the Saint and more about celebrating one’s capacity to drink copious amounts of alcohol. On the night of St Pat’s, Irish pubs are filled with drunken revelry, empty pints of Guinness and a lot of green. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a leprechaun or two. If the day is about an old Irish saint, where did these traditions come from? Leprechauns, or little people, were first found in Irish folklore. Unlike the Leprechaun of today, they were traditionally described as wearing red.  Coupled with the fact they are not unique to Ireland, the green-clad little guys don't make a lot of sense. Despite their dubious link, leprechauns have inspired the silly hats, the green clothing and mischievous goings-on that St Patrick's Day is known for.

Where should you celebrate St Patrick’s Day

No matter where you are in the world, if there is an Irish pub nearby, you’ll find a happy group of green-clad partygoers celebrating the day. The beauty and confusion of St Patrick's is that everybody celebrates. Got some Irish blood in you? Pop on a ginger beard and get celebrating! Been to Ireland once? That counts too! Have a pint of Guinness. Like beer and the colour green? You’re most welcome! If you find yourself in the motherland on March 17th, you're in for a treat. Parades, festivals and even a 5K road race are on the itinerary. For a real Irish experience, you can’t beat an authentic pub. Just don’t try and keep up with the Irish-Born - they sure can drink.

Eat, drink and be merry!

St Patrick’s Day can be a lot of fun. Who doesn’t love a day dedicated to spending time with your mates down at the pub? Throw in a rowdy rendition of 'Danny Boy', a wobbly attempt at dancing an Irish jig, and a wink from the cute red head at the table next to you and who needs a pot of gold! You’ve got everything you could ever want. But like any holiday centred around a drink or ten, your pot of gold can quickly turn into a pot of something else. Nobody want’s to spend the wee hours of St Patrick’s Day with their head on the toilet, so it’s important to look after yourself and your friends.

Here are a few pointers to keep your face from turning the same shade of green as your shirt:

  • More than 13 million pints of Guinness are drunk on St Patrick's Day around the world but if you’re not used to the dark stout, go easy. Like anything, drinking copious amounts of something new can make you sick especially when it’s as rich and flavoursome as Guinness. That said, Guinness is a fairly light beer with an alcohol content of around 4.3%. It even has some purported health benefits like antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering properties.
  • Keep drinking water throughout the day and night and know when it’s time to catch a taxi home. If you see Leprechauns of the magical variety, it’s time to call it a night.
  • Give your liver a break and please don’t start and end the day with Guinness - Enjoy some hearty, alcohol-absorbing food like potatoes and corned beef. Food is another great reason to celebrate St Patrick’s Day so don’t forget to eat some heart fare. Also, don’t drink green beer. It's not Irish, it’s just gross.

Irish, or wannabe Irish, St Patrick’s Day is a great time to have some good ol’ celebratory fun with your friends. Wherever you’re in the world, have a Guinness or two, wear your silliest green outfit, and dance a jig or two. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

 

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