Every year on the 17th March, people gather all over the globe to celebrate the Irish holiday, better known as St Patrick’s Day. This year it was no different and it fell on a Tuesday. Usually Tuesday nights are quite quiet for most people but this Tuesday was an exception, considering most pubs were crammed full of people making the most out of this day. Since the original Irish holiday became global, the celebrations have climbed the scale – for a day that used to be relatively quiet, we have all adopted the popular American way of celebrating it with a ‘few’ pints.
Of course, WCE and our students weren’t going to miss out on the fun so we headed to the popular Irish pub, O’Neills at 6pm to have a couple of pints of Guinness (Irish dry stout and one of the most successful beer brands in the world!) and have a go at some Irish dancing to Irish folk music. O’Neills was absolutely packed making it quite warm but this was nothing a fresh beer couldn’t cure PLUS the party atmosphere was infectious and everyone was enjoying themselves. The Guinness (and the cider for me) got us all in a talkative mood and English conversations flowed easily. Given the lack of space there wasn’t much dancing going on apart from sidestepping but some of us, including myself, still had a guess of what exactly Irish dancing was. Unfortunately, I was informed that I was doing the wrong dance and had transgressed from Irish dancing to Russian dancing, which was quite amusing for everyone around me. But this is what St Patrick’s is all about now – it’s about letting your hair down, being merry and attempting to dance. After all, everyone is Irish one way or another on St Patrick’s Day.
Interestingly, one of our students asked why St Patrick’s Day is celebrated and what it’s all about. I suppose that days dedicated to saints are quite a common thing in more religious countries such as Italy, Portugal and Spain but you wouldn’t really think of Ireland as religious would you? St Patrick’s is an exception and just like Santo Antonio in Lisbon and San Isidro in Madrid, people have different ways of celebrating this day dedicated to these patron saints and generally these celebrations include drinking and some sort of dancing. Obviously, St Patrick’s Day has been internationalised, namely by Irish immigrants in the US.
St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and it is believed that he died on the 17th March around the 5th century but it was only declared a religious holiday in the 17th century when the Vatican recognised the day in 1631. It’s the official public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland but did you know that it was only made a public holiday in 1904. Of course, it was celebrated in the 19th century by the Irish elites with a nice SOPHISTICATED ball in Dublin but not to the extent it is celebrated today. Nowadays almost everyone takes to the streets for parties and most importantly pub-crawls where a great amount of Guinness is consumed in celebration of the Irish festival. In fact, did you know that more than 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed on St Patrick’s Day worldwide? Imagine how much money they get from this festival alone but I reckon as long as everyone is happy and enjoying themselves on this day that’s all that matters.
Thousands across the UK will be participating in fundraising events for this Nose Day on Friday 13th March. Red Nose Day is an event that happens every two years as Comic Relief alternate the event with Sport Relief. Comic Relief is a huge charity in the UK that aims to make the world a fairer place and diminish the devastating effects of poverty. Even though Red Nose Day isn’t held on a yearly basis, this charity works all year round to achieve their mission and since it was founded in 1985 it has raised around £950 million.
Comic Relief’s first project was to help a Sudanese refugee camp in 1985 and it was launched live on BBC1 from the camp on Christmas Day that year. Since then Comic Relief helps raise money for many other charities that mainly support young and old people in very poor areas by targeting the cause of poverty and injustice. Comic Relief helps national charities as well as international ones and you may not be fully aware of their progress but they have made a huge difference in today’s world. For instance, from 1999-2008 Comic Relief has made education more accessible to African children. According to their statistics, the number of students going to school in Africa has increased by a whopping 46.5 million! This charity has helped the most vulnerable in society such as the young, elderly and has even fought against domestic violence. And get this; remember talking about the women progress for International Women’s Day last Sunday? Well, you’ll be happy to know that Comic Relief has helped offer women and children experiencing domestic violence protection… The National Domestic Violence helpline refers approximately 28 women to a refuge on a daily basis to escape domestic violence. Comic Relief’s support to many causes has been phenomenal!
When I think back to Red Nose Days in the past, fond memories of my childhood come up. Red Nose Day is almost treated as a semi-holiday in the UK. People always get together at home, work or school to do something funny for money. It was almost a trend to go to school wearing the official Comic Relief red nose purchased from the local Sainsbury’s (a Comic Relief sponsor) – if you didn’t have a red nose then you weren’t the cool kid and this probably hasn’t changed! It’s an all-inclusive thing and this kind of makes sense considering many of the causes that Comic Relief supports are everyone’s business. Even celebrities get involved and a host of different entertainments is hosted on the BBC1 channel at night. Making a better and just world is a global concern and not just an individual one and that’s what the day comes down to – everyone working together for the cause.
You’re probably wondering now what WCE are going to be doing to help this cause! Well, if you’re a frequent visitor at our office then you will have heard and seen that we are going to having a fundraising quiz to raise some money to donate to the cause. We have also decided to participate in the ‘Red Nose Sweepstake’ where we guess which celeb will win the funniest face. For each guess we have donated £2. The winner will get to keep half the money and the rest will be donated to Comic Relief so if you want to place your guess you can today and tomorrow until 3pm. The winner will be announced in the fundraising event. The event will be social (as usual) and very, very fun! We’ve got some red noses and we can all make some funny faces and take selfies together!! Obviously tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. Come join us be funny for this cause! Get in the mood, get in the groove!!