But what had caused it? Just as I admitted defeat I detected a sea of green out of the corner of my eye. I looked closer at the crowds walking through the city. More green. Of course, how could I have overlooked the St Patrick’s Day Parade?
So why is St Patrick’s Day such a big event in Brisbane? The true blue Aussie justification may just be that any event which inherently leads to drinking in an Irish pub is worth celebrating. However this barely begins to scratch the surface. Brisbane is rich in Irish heritage – as Saturday’s display can attest to – and with around 6 million Aussies being of Irish descent the day has become more about community spirit.
Children spend the weeks leading up to the day learning traditional dances, the Irish Choir perfects their performances, Irish community fundraisers are in full swing, and street performers are out to show pride in their heritage. The fun, community minded spirit of the day has influenced not only Irish descendants but also everyday Aussies to join in on the celebration.
Not only is St Pat’s Day a unification of Irish culture in Australian capital cities such as Brisbane, but take a trip out to one of the most iconic outback towns of Australia, Broken Hill, and you will be surprised to find that on St Pat’s day this town becomes known as the city of the outback. People flock from all over Australia to attend the St Pat’s race day and this year was a special one for the Silver City, as the St Patrick’s Day Race Club celebrate their 50th year.
The St Patrick’s Day races may be a far cry from ‘the race that stops a nation’ but it is most certainly no less fun, as punters travel long distances to dress up in the middle of the Australian desert and watch horse racing and raise money for local schools and community groups.
Irish culture has certainly forged a footprint all over Australia and events such as these will see that this continues for the next generations.
Even though my shopping trip was cancelled for the day I’ll be looking forward to joining in on the fun of the St Pat’s Day Parade next year!