St Patrick's Day is celebrated by Irish nationals and the Irish diaspora worldwide on 17th March, as an annual cultural and religious holiday. The date marks the death of the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, and was turned into an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century.
St Patrick's Day, otherwise known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a Christian feast day - observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, the proportion of non-religious celebrations has spread across the world, in the form of drinking, dancing and public parades. Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking are lifted on the day, which has encouraged the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption.
Here are the some of the celebrations in cities across the UK and Ireland:
The event is now in its 13th year and attracts over 100,000 people. Organised by Irish businesses and the Mayor of London, the festival hosts musicians, artists, cultural organisations and dance groups in Trafalgar Square.
It takes place on the Sunday closest to 17th March, which falls on Sunday 16th March this year. The theme for the 2014 parade is "World of Dance" and will host performances from various London dance groups, as well as pageantry, floats and marching bands.
The Irish festival runs from 7th to 17th March, hosting comedy, music, sport and art events. The parade will take place on Sunday 16th March, starting at 11am on Queen's Road and finishing in Albert Square at around 1.30pm. It is a community-based event, with thousands of revellers lining the route of the parade. The floats and banners represent the counties of Ireland. More information can be found here.
The theme for this year's Irish festival, which runs from the 1st March, is "Irish Myths and Legends". Highlights include live music and other cultural events at the Custard Factory and other venues around the city.
Birmingham hosted the first Irish parade in the UK in 1952. The event has taken place in Digbeth since 1996 and will be held on Sunday 16th March. Visit Stpatricksbirmingham.com for more details.
The annual festival will be held between Friday 14th and Monday 17th March and includes treasure hunts, walking tours of the city, music and street performances and beer and craft markets, as well as other attractions. For more information, visit Stpatricksfestival.ie.
Events include concerts, parades and diverse celebrations to promote Irish culture in Glasgow and Scotland. There's also Gaelic music, language, dance and sport, as well as quieter film nights and food events. The festival is a non-profit organisation which donates the proceeds to future festivals and the Emerald Lunch Club, a project which provides entertainment for the elderly Irish and other ethnic communities. For more information, visit Glasgowstpatricksfestival.co.uk.
The parade is held on Sunday 16th March, alongside other celebrations in pubs and venues across the city. First held in 2000, the parade will begin at 11am at Milennium Square, before moving down Park Lane through to The Headrow. More information on the route can be found here.
Although there is no parade or festival in the city, various pubs and bars will be celebrating St Patrick's Day. Dempsey's Irish Bar, O'Neils and Kitty Flynns will all host food, drink and live music, as well as other local pubs.
The city's festival of Ireland is a four-day celebration of Edinburgh's own Irish community and is held before an on St Patrick's Day. Highlights include Irish Dancing at Jam House and the St Patrick's Portobello Pageant. Irish music, poetry and films, as well as food and drink, will be available at venues across the city. Visit Informededinburgh.co.uk for more details.
The St Patrick's Day festival will be hosted by the Tyneside Irish Cultural Society and the Tyneside Irish Centre. Activities include a ceilidh, concerts and food. The festival runs between 14th and 17th March. More information can be found at Newcastlegateshead.com.