St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Around the World

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, and just as everyone has their own way of celebrating (although many of those methods involve a bit of green and a tall glass of Irish beer), every place has its own way of throwing a party. From the Emerald Isle itself to across the United States and across Australia, here's how different cities celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

For some destinations, this holiday is another excuse to hang out and party at the local Irish pub (some destinations didn't even start celebrating the holiday until the '90s). For others, St. Patrick's Day is a truly cultural holiday and a celebration of tradition and pride. While cities have chosen different ways to celebrate on or the weekend before March 17 — running, bus crawling, dyeing rivers green — the celebrations share some common characteristics. Costumes ranging from traditional to exotic add color to the streets, and thousands of people gather to enjoy music, dancing and organized parades. Although nearly every city that takes the holiday seriously hosts a St. Patrick's Day parade, even this celebration varies from place to place. In some cities you'll see elaborate floats decorated in green and orange, while in others you'll find a more traditional display of pipe bands in traditional costumes. Here are 12 cities from around the world and how they celebrate St. Paddy's Day.

1.Dublin, Ireland

Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Go back to the source and enjoy the ultimate St. Patrick's Day. Dublin's festival lasts four days and pays homage to Ireland's rich cultural history with music, street performances, pub events and plenty of fun . Half a million revelers gathered for the vibrant St. Patrick's Day parade, which kicked off at midday in Parnell Square with vibrant floats, costumes and performances showcasing the country's history and Celtic folklore .

2. New York City

New York City's famous St. Patrick's Day Parade attracts more than 2 million spectators each year and is the largest parade in the world. First held in 1762, the parade is an ongoing tradition celebrating New York's Irish population. Instead of the expected spectacle of floats and balloons, you'll see a more rigorous display of tap dancers, bagpipers, police, firemen and marchers in traditional kilts and kilts. Outside of the parade, the festivities are decidedly less disciplined, with dedicated day drinking and city-wide pub crawls.

3. Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Montreal's St. Patrick's Day Parade has been held continuously since 1824. The parade, made up of floats, bands and costumed marchers, lasts three hours, but the festivities last longer, with party-goers gathering in city center bars.

4. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago went all out to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, using 40 pounds of EPA-approved dye to dye the river a bright chartreuse. The festivities begin on Parade Day (always a Saturday) when thousands gather to watch the Chicago River change color, followed by a parade of bagpipers, dancers and Clydesdaleites. The event evolved into a full-blown street party and eventually took place in the city's Irish pubs.

5. Montserrat, West Indies

Montserrat earned the nickname the "Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" for its Irish population, who first fled there as indentured servants from neighboring islands to escape religious persecution in the 1600s. The island's shamrock passport stamp still pays homage to its history. St. Patrick's Day celebrations are an event celebrated by the African-Irish under the beat of Calypso and commemorate the attempted slave revolt on the same day in 1768.

6. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is home to one of the nation's largest St. Patrick's Day parades, and Massachusetts tops the list of states with the most Irish ancestry in the country, with nearly a quarter of the state's population having Irish ancestry. South Boston, or "Southie," has been hosting the city's parades (and the rowdiest after-parties) since 1901. The wail of bagpipes can be heard calling marchers back to the starting point.

7.London, UK

While the politics can be a bit tricky given England's historical relationship with Ireland, London throws a big party for St. Patrick's Day. Locals and tourists alike throng the streets of Trafalgar Square to watch the parade and live Irish music. Not far from the square is The Porterhouse, one of the largest Irish pubs in the world, which despite its massive 12 floors is sure to get packed during the festival.

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love makes the most of St. Patrick's Day, even though it only comes once a year. Philadelphia's Erin Express is a citywide pub crawl that provides free transportation to participants and takes place on two consecutive weekends before and after the festival. On the weekend before the big day, people celebrate Holy Prayer Day.

9. Savannah, Georgia

This southern city hosts one of the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the world. Its parade (said to be the second largest in the world) lasts three hours and routes through historic districts where fountains spurt emerald green water.

10. Tokyo, Japan

Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Even though Tokyo doesn't have a large Irish population, it still takes part in the festivities. The Japanese capital began hosting a St. Patrick's Day parade in 1992 and has grown in popularity since then. The parade took place around Harajuku, local bars offered discounts on beer and the revelry continued into the evening.

11. St. Louis, Missouri

Dogtown is the city's Irish neighborhood and is the centerpiece of St. Louis' St. Patrick's Day celebrations. The area hosts the Ancient Hibernian St. Patrick's Day Parade, said to be one of the best in the county. The weekend is packed with events, including an Irish dinner with formal entertainment and a five-mile parade with more than 8,000 participants.

12. Auckland, New Zealand

Hannah Peters/Getty Images News/Getty Images

New Zealand's St. Patrick's Day celebrations may not be the largest, but they are the first in the world every year. Irish immigration to Auckland first began in the 1840s and continues today. To celebrate the festival, the Sky Tower is lit up green and the entire city comes together for a parade and music and dance festival.

Image: Max Talbot-Minkin , Miguel Mendez , Tsaiproject , Rodolphe Breard , David Stanley , GreenMelinda , Derek Bridges , Garry Knight , Mobilis In Mobili , Rjones0856 , Michael Righi , Brad Tutterow /Flickr