After a particularly grueling (at times, intense) winter, we are finally on the verge of the season of florals and ...: spring. Though the transition doesn't truly take place for a little while, this weird in-between time Homer Simpson once referred to as "Smarch" will get a small, exciting reprieve in the form of everyone's favorite excuse to wear green, drink Guinness, and eat potatoes. St. Patrick's Day is March 17, and if a European trip isn't in your budget, try one of these five unique ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day no matter where you are.
St. Patrick's Day has roots in Catholicism and deep Irish tradition, but nowadays it is primarily viewed as a celebration of Irish culture. Usually, this is done through wearing your most verdant attire and consuming copious amounts of potatoes and beer. While, these activities have their merits, how about thinking outside of the box a little bit this year? Some of the best aspects of Irish culture are the ones less-celebrated. Or, perhaps you REALLY want to go all out as the holiday falls on a Saturday this year. If you're hoping to add a little originality to your Irish celebrations, look no further.
Inarguably one of the best things Irish culture has to offer is its music. The folky upbeat tunes have served as inspiration for plenty of modern acts for years; with threads of the style easily audible in lots of contemporary folk and country (or any string-heavy) music. But, nothing holds a flame to the original. It will make it hard to resist jumping up to join in the fun. Clapping along is not only allowed, but encouraged. Here's a YouTube playlist to get you started; if you're hoping to keep it contemporary, tune into some modern Irish acts like The Cranberries or even One Direction. (Niall Horan is Irish. It's a bit of a stretch, but so be it.)
The counterpart to Irish music is how you dance to it. Irish step dancing (more casually called the Irish jig) is the form of folk dancing that likely comes to mind when you think about the quintessential Irish dance. The dancers sport intricate hairstyles and outfits embellished with Celtic imagery as they weightlessly leap off the ground and into the air to the sounds of violins and fiddles. Dance troupes like the internationally-acclaimed Riverdance have made the art more commonplace, in recent years; see if you can catch a performance in your area, or teach yourself some beginner moves for fun.
Some of the most beautiful films ever made have been shot in Ireland; and you may not have even known about it. Some of the most popular ones in recent memory include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Braveheart, and a personal favorite: Brooklyn (it stars Saoirse Ronan of Lady Bird, and also earned her an Oscar nom).
There are a surprising number of St. Patrick's Day parades that take place around the United States every March 17. While the location of the largest parade in the United States — New York City — will likely not come as a surprise, the cities who round out the list might shock you. Second and third belong to Chicago and Boston, respectively, but fourth is Savannah, Georgia. Scranton, Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Missouri, and Hot Springs, Arkansas also rank in the top ten, according to the International Business Times. With this in mind, chances are there's at least a minor parade or celebration taking place near you.
If you're looking to steer clear of green beer and bar food, consider trying your hand at a more traditional Irish dish like boxty, Irish potato cakes, or even Guinness beef stew. If baking if your culinary feat of choice, make some bread pudding — or if you're feeling especially lazy, hit up Trader Joe's for their seasonal Blarney Scone. If you have no idea where to start, here's a list of Irish foods to get you on the right path.