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Lucky Shamrock Parade to mark local St. Patrick’s Day

Date Posted: 2010-03-11

You won’t get pinched if you remember to wear green on Saturday.

You will have a fun Saturday if you remember it is St. Patrick’s Day on Okinawa City’s Chuo Park Avenue. While St. Patrick’s Day isn’t officially until March 17th, the Gate 2 Street, the Okinawa Center Shopping Street St. Patrick’s Day Committee and Paddy Mac’s Irish Pub wanted to celebrate in a big way, so decided to make Saturday Okinawa’s St. Patrick’s Day.

More than 200 people with the lucky Shamrock will parade down Okinawa Park Avenue starting at 3:20 p.m., following opening ceremonies. The festivities get under way at 2 p.m. and run through 8 p.m., with live entertainment on three separate stages. The stage in front of Teruya Music will feature minyo music, kid’s dances and variety music. A second stage near Korinza Mall will feature indies bands, while a third stage in front of Paddy Mac’s Irish Pub will be performing Irish rock. Orion and Guinness Beer will be served, along with Irish food.

The St. Patrick’s Day festivities are being supported by the Irish Network Japan, Tourism Ireland, Guinness, the Okinawa Chamber of Commerce, Goya Union, the Visitors Bureau, Korinza, and the Embassy of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by the Irish and the Irish at Heart in big cities and small towns alike around the world with parades, “wearing of the green,” music and songs, Irish food and drinks, and activities for kids. It’s a time for fun, with some communities even going so far as dying rivers or streams green.

Why March 17th? Well, one theory is that this is the day that St. Patrick died, and since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. With exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.

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