While conspiracy theorists might infer that St Patrick’s Day has some deeper meaning or historically significant origins, we all know that the day is actually just a great excuse to wear green hat, sip on a dark brew and hop around like a leprechaun for a whole day.
And given that it has become such a jubilant day of unrestrained revelry, businesses, brands and politicians all take it as an opportunity to get some additional exposure.
As usual, Google led the online charge of celebrating momentous days by creating a doodle, which linked to news stories, information and location-specific details on St Patrick’s events in the user’s area. But rather than featuring a pot of gold or glass of Guinness, the internet search engine instead opted for a stained glass, Celtic-inspired design that hints more at the origins of the day.
Historically, the Catholic restrictions on drinking alcohol were lifted on 17 March, and this gave rise to the widespread drinking culture, which today typifies the event.
And given that alcohol has become an accepted part of celebrations, it comes as little surprise that major alcohol brands get behind the event.
This year, Jameson released a limited edition bottle that was tagged with phrases borrowed from Irish vernacular.
Designed by award-winning Irish illustrator Demot Flynn, the new bottle, which is the fourth to be released by Jameson, aims to capture the sights and sounds of Dublin.
“The illustrations for the contemporary bottle design capture some of the famous sights including a famous pub, statues and monuments while the warmth and humour of Dublin is captured through the use of local vocabulary encouraging you to enjoy “The Spirit of Dublin” as part of the March celebrations,” says a release from Jameson.
And while most of the day is about beer, whiskey and Guinness, the NZTE also took St Paddy’s Day as an opportunity to let Kiwis know that Ireland is our ninth biggest export destination for wine—which is quite substantial considering that Ireland only ranks as the 60th biggest export target overall (another NZTE-provided fact).
— NZTE (@NZTEnews) March 16, 2014
Further afield, the Americans have gone environmentally questionable with their celebrations in Chicago.
What initially arose by accident when the local plumbers union used Fluorescein dye to trace illegal pollutants in the river has now turned into an annual celebration in the Windy City. Every year, the city now commemorates St Patrick’s Day by dyeing its river bright green.
And although the event’s organisers are very secretive of the exact recipe that goes into the dye, they say that it has been tested and is verified safe for the environment.
So popular is this type of celebration that in 2009, Michelle Obama also had the White House’s fountain dyed in commemoration of the event.
And the Obamas aren’t the only politicians to get into a bit of Irish revelery on 17 March. Here in New Zealand, the annual Emerald Ball has over the years received cameo appearances from a wide array of dignitaries, including Prime Minister John Key.
While the Emerald Ball caters to the elite, the most-well-attended event in New Zealand is undoubtedly the Hugh Green Group Parade, which has seen an Irish-themed procession travel down Queen Street since 2010 (this year’s event ran yesterday).
Given that the event is observed by so many people, Guinness has taken it as an opportunity to gain some additional brand exposure.
In addition to sending a black vehicle emblazoned with the Guinness badge down the streets, the famous Irish brewer also arranges for brand ambassadors clad in promotional attire to join the procession.
And refusing to be outdone in an exhibition of Irishness, Jameson has also brought a bit of Celtic magic to the parade over the years.