It’s not just the Emerald Isle that will glow green today for St Patricks’s Day. The Irish diaspora is so huge now that 70 million people globally are of Irish descent. Why else would the Great Pyramids, the supposedly rose-red city of Petra and the Eiffel Tower all be switching on the green lights on March 17th? There is a saying that everyone is a little bit Irish on St Patrick’s Day, that should now be extended to say that everything is a little bit Irish as well. Certainly as far as famous buildings go.
Global greening has a whole new perspective as the Irish Tourist Board has persuaded more and more beautiful heritage sites to join in the green campaign. The only human architectural structure to be seen from Space is the Great Wall of China and if the astronauts in the ISS are hurtling past that way this St Patrick’s Day they will see it as a long snaking green streak.
Other world-famous landmarks are joining in the Paddy’s day shenanigans. In Brazil, gearing up to be host city to the next Olympic Games, they pay tribute to their expected Irish visitors by lighting up Christ the Redeemer on his lofty perch above the bay of Rio. Children at Disneyland Paris would be forgiven for thinking that Shrek and Princes Fiona had moved into Sleeping Beauty’s Castle as it too goes the color of a shamrock. In Dubai, the Burj Al Arab looks all set sail to head off into the desert with a bright green sail. The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen is not feeling seasick, she is signalling her support to the Irishmen and women across the water.
The Niagara Falls are gushing green, and on a similar watery note, Glasgow’s Hydro Arena is too. Tourists waiting to take their photographs on the iconic zebra crossing outside the Abbey Road recording studios in London, immortalized by The Beatles, will find their pictures have a green tint. The white stripes have had a St Patrick’s Day makeover.
The London Eye is rotating in a green cycle, now one of the most iconic monuments in Britain’s capital, with its backdrop of the Houses of Parliament. A structure requiring a different sort of head for heights is the Holmenkoolen ski jump in Oslo. It will be glimmering away in the national colour of Ireland.
Down Under, the Sydney Opera House will not be missing out on the celebrations and its normally gleaming white shells will be a glorious green. The St Patrick’s Day parade was already held at the weekend, as in many places, and to remind Irish ex-pats of home, it turned on torrents of rain as well.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, another building famous for its unusual calibrations, is on a green lean. The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is greenlit, so is the Table Mountain in South Africa and the Allianz Arena in Munich. More and more famous landmarks seem to join in with the green illumination fever every year, and at this rate, there won’t be a building left in its natural shades when the day comes round to honor St Patrick.
It’s not just bricks and mortar either. Chicago went for a flowing tribute, by dying the river green, as did the citizens of Vilnius in Lithuania. In New York, a gigantic Kermit the Frog floated over the parade, one of the few symbols that didn’t have to change color to keep in with the proceedings.
Back in Mother Ireland with the rugby team just having secured the Six Nations title over the weekend, it is to be expected that the green gallivanting will be brighter than ever.
The whole world loves St Patrick’s Day and instead of being green with envy for the great Irish culture and traditions, they have all decided to join in the fun instead.
By Kate Henderson