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Saint Patrick’s Festival

March 14th, 2014

News from Berlin. On March 16, the streets in Berlin will colour green. It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, the Irish holiday celebrated the world over! People walk around with green hats, wearing green shoes, green sweaters, green trousers and some people even dye their hair red - or wear a wig if they are less adventurous.

Saint Patrick’s Day, or ‘Lá Fhéile Pádraig’ in Irish, is celebrated each year on march 17, the anniversary of Saint Patrick’s death in the year 461. He is credited with the introduction of Christianity to Ireland, and is regarded as the island’s most recognisable patron saint. The holiday is characterised by public parades and festivals, and people wearing green clothes. The symbol of Saint Patrick’s Day is the Shamrock, a young sprig of clover. The celebrations do not limit themselves to just Ireland though. Every country that has an Irish community will join in.

Including Berlin! The city has always prided itself on its culturally diverse community that will not say no to a parade or a party. 2011 marked the beginning of St. Patrick’s Festival Berlin. It started quite small: on a rainy day a group of 150 people did a parade through Kreuzberg’s Görlitzer Platz. The year after, there were film screenings leading up to the parade, the Fernsehturm coloured green, and 2000 people met and celebrated on Spreewaldplatz. Building on the successes of previous years, the organisers went out of their way in 2013: in the week before the Saint Patrick’s Day parade through Berlin, they organised a whole week filled with whiskey tastings, a costume workshop and literary readings. 5000 people joined the parade, which culminated in a large open air festival in Kreuzberg.

Bigger is better seems to be the motto for the Berlin edition of Saint Patrick’s day, and this year is no exception. The traditional parade will be followed by a series of concerts at the Arena Complex (after which there an after-party with some of the best Irish DJs), and to get in an Irish mood, there is the Irish Film On Tour event, a small film festival where spectators can enjoy Irish films in the week leading up to the parade. Less events before the parade, but Saint Patrick’s day itself looks to be an event no-one will want to miss.

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