Saint Patrick’s Day, while not hugely celebrated in South Africa, is still a good excuse to do something a little different. There are a couple of really fun traditions and things to do on St Patrick’s Day, but first a little history.
The St Patrick’s Day story goes that good ol’ Paddy was kidnapped from his home in Roman Britain and held captive in Ireland. After receiving a message from God in a dream, he escaped from his captors and returned to Britain, where he studied to become a priest. Later, after yet another mysterious, divine message, Paddy returned to Ireland to convert the Irish folk to Christianity, apparently using the shamrock to illustrate the notion of the holy trinity to the heathen. He seemed to do it successfully and in the early 17th century, the 17th of March (the anniversary of Patrick’s death) was declared a national holiday in celebration of Christianity’s introduction to Ireland.
Slowly, as is human wont, the tradition metamorphosed from a religious celebration to one of Irish identity. Today, it is largely an excuse for people to get dressed up in green, attach a few shamrocks to their person and drink lots of beer. If you are at a loss for where to celebrate this St Patrick’s Day, fear not, for a list is imminent:
This year, Cape Town is flying the Saint Patrick’s Day flag proudly. The biggest family friendly event is taking place at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, where the amphitheatre will be a hive of activity. From about 2pm there will be a dance performance put on by the Dance Trax group, followed by a dog show showcasing the Irish Wolfhound breed and finally a music show by the group ‘Shanty’, which will cover some upbeat Irish numbers on their traditional Irish instruments. In addition, many of the V&A buskers will be clad in green and spot prizes will be handed out for the best dressed members of the public.
A number of Waterfront restaurants will be offering food and drink specials and hosting live music too. The celebrations at Quay Four restaurant will kick off on Saturday the 16th and extend to the 24th, meaning there will still be great specials on for the Human Rights Day celebrations.
Other family-friendly venues joining in the emerald spirit include The Forrester’s Arms in Newlands and Durbanville Hills wine farm, while The Dubliner on Long Street and O’Driscoll’s are fun places to down a few pints of Guinness with grown-up friends.
Finally, don’t forget to look out for the green-illuminated Table Mountain on Sunday evening!
In Joburg, The Irish Club in Linden is hosting an all-day festival which will include yummy food and live Irish bands. R20 gets you a full day pass. The Brazen Head restaurants in Johannesburg and surrounds are also getting into the Irish spirit.
The Brazen Head chain of Irish pubs are going all out with waitrons dressed in green, Irish music playing and food and drinks specials on offer.
So, if you were at a loss for things to do on Saint Paddy’s Day in South Africa, hopefully you’re feeling a little more inspired now.