Why Do South Africans Celebrate St Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day – it’s a day of festivities like none other! Here in South Africa, St Paddy’s Day is another excellent reason to go out to the local pub, have a couple of pints, and make merry until the wee hours of the morning.

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the most extraordinary days in South Africa, possibly rivalling Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The propensity among South Africans to go out, clad in emerald green and gold for a night of drinking and unbridled revelry is too great to resist. We don’t even think about why we are celebrating this quasi-holiday – we just do. It goes without saying. South Africans don’t need a reason to celebrate, but St Patrick’s Day justifies precisely this type of hedonism.

What to expect from St Patrick’s Day celebrations?

True to form, partygoers can be found wearing anything green, including hats, beards (green or orange will do), glasses, luaus, bracelets, bangles, nail polish, and lipstick. Everyone likes to get in on the action because this is the one day of the year when leprechauns get top billing. Remember those mythical, magical creatures from Ireland? Yes, the mischievous leprechaun is quite the magician. As legend has it, leprechauns surf rainbows and conjure up buckets of gold at the click of their fingers. There is arguably one too many pints that went into creating this Irish legend, but it stuck over the years. So on this day, the whole world knows about Irish leprechauns, pots of gold at the end of rainbows, fields of green, magic toadstools, and four-leaf clovers. Irish Luck is possibly the best form of luck a lad or a lass could ever wish for, and it’s even hinted at in games like the Irish Luck slot. Even in dire circumstances, the Irish have this uncanny ability to experience good fortune.

Of course, given that the Irish are a strong-willed people, this makes perfect sense. However, their country has had its fair share of trials and tribulations over the years, and Irish luck seems to be the game-changer in this equation. There are many theories regarding the origins of Irish luck, but it all comes together beautifully on St Patrick’s Day. When South Africans across the rainbow nation pitch up at the pubs, ready to down a Guinness, Lion Lager, Castle, Amstel, Black Label, or Heineken. We are a proud beer-drinking nation in South Africa, and St Paddy’s Day is the only motivation we need to let those kegs flow.

The World Celebrates with Ireland on Saint Patrick’s Day

Jokes aside, responsible drinking is strongly encouraged at all times. But why do South Africans celebrate St Patrick’s Day when it’s a foreign concept? Perhaps, we don’t like to be excluded? Maybe we’ve claimed it as our very own? Perhaps it’s a gift from the Irish to the South Africans? The Embassy of Ireland in South Africa clarifies that St Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on 17 March. It’s the national day of Ireland, but it’s a global celebration of being Irish. It’s the parade that everybody likes – filled with pomp and ceremony. The Irish are well-loved worldwide, including right here in South Africa. This day is a tribute to these people’s indomitable spirit and dogged determination. These are a creative bunch of blokes and ladies—the world shares in the spirit of the national day of Ireland by commemorating all things Irish.

You don’t have to drink beer or even wear green clothing on St Patrick’s Day. You need to share the blessings and hope for the very best for the New Year. That’s the message that resonates with South Africans everywhere. We love the parades, the camaraderie, the festivities, and we love seeing everyone getting dressed up in emerald green!

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