It was a beautiful, sunny spring day. The birds were probably singing, flowers were probably starting to bloom, the nature was probably waking up after a long, cold, dark Scandinavian winter and people from all across Stockholm were most probably overly excited to spend as much of the first true spring day the city has had this year, soaking in the golden rays of solar happiness, while enjoying the summer-calling warm breeze that was blowing all around the city . I suppose (and would like to think that this is what was going on in Stockholm, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to say as I was in a hurry to finish a project and then-after caught a train towards Copenhagen. Despite my no more chaotic than usual schedule, I couldn’t help but look out the windows of my house, the bus and the train for the entire day, wishing that I was out there enjoying the magnificent day mother nature was offering; and being unable to shake the feeling that there is something bigger, more important, more special that I am missing on… I just had no idea what it could have been.
About halfway through my 5 hours train ride, I start getting messages from my Stockholm friends asking me where I am, what I am doing and if I’ll be joining the St. Patrick’s Day parade later that day. I do not often regret having to travel a lot for what I do, but right then and there, I wished I would’ve been a couple of minutes late and missed my train, so I could have attended this event which I have successfully and inexplicably missed every year since I first wanted to attend it… 3 years ago. Despite that, I did not lose hope and as I believe that everything happens for a reason, I crossed my fingers and started researching a possible St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Copenhagen. I couldn’t have been happier when I came across the Facebook event that confirmed that there will be a parade in Copenhagen the following they. I could not believe that I will not be missing St. Patrick’s Day for the third year in a raw.
It was perfect as I had no plans for the following day and so, that Sunday, camera in hand, wearing a green jacket, green shoes and an oversized green tie with a borderline funny (and completely untrue in my case) message reading “Kiss Me I’m Irish” I joined the celebrations. I had a blast watching really talented dancers tapping, a traditional Irish music ensemble performing and the leader of the parade cracking really funny jokes at the expense of the crowd. I was having a blast before the parade even started, but once it did I was overpowered with a feeling of joy; seeing all these people gathered there together either to celebrate their Irish heritage or simply, like me, to have a great time – all together, all having the times of their lives, all dancing, laughing, singing and drinking. It was a truly beautiful sight which I am fortunate enough to have witnessed.
Bellow you can find some photos I’ve snapped during the parade, but first, here’s a few random St. Patrick and St Patrick’s Day facts you probably didn’t know:
– He was a fifth century Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland.
– He is the primary patron saint of Ireland.
– He was born to Roman parents in either Scotland or Wales.
– He is rumoured to have been kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland. He later returned to Britain, became a priest and made it his life’s mission to once again return to Ireland and convert it to Christianity.
– He used the shamrock as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland in order to better explain it in a way that everyone would understand.
– St. Patrick didn’t actually wear green, but a very distinct shade of blue. The color green started becoming associated with St. Patrick’s day after it was linked to the Irish independence movement in the late 18th century.
– Until the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day was a minor celebration and only became a major one after Irish immigrants to the US started using it as a mean of bringing all their compatriots together in order to celebrate their roots and national protector (And there’s no wonder this happened since there are over 34 million Americans with Irish ancestry, while there are only 4.2 million inhabitants in Ireland).
– One of the most famous city when it comes to the
St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Chicago, where the river that crosses the city is dyed green every year for the parade which is attended by around 400k people every year.
– The second biggest St Patrick’s Day parade is in New York, where around 150k-250k people attend. This is followed closely by the one in Dublin, Ireland and Sydney, Australia