Raise a glass for St Patrick's Day

Every year on March 17 Irish communities across the world (not to mention a few who are only too happy to join in) celebrate the feast day of Ireland's most famous patron saint - St Patrick.

St Patricks Day celebrations
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Born in the fourth century, Patrick was thought to have been kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken as a slave to Ireland. Having escaped and fled the country, he was called back to the Emerald Isle as a bishop and set about bringing Christianity to the country.

According to Irish legend, one of his teaching methods involved using a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the people, hence the wearing of the plant during the feast day.

As early as the 17th century, green ribbons and shamrocks were worn to commemorate St Patrick and the tradition remains today.

In modern times, St Patrick's Day has become an international celebration and parades and parties take place from Dublin to London, Canada to New Zealand with an estimated 13 million pints of Guinness (more than 150 pints per second) going down the hatch.

Dublin, of course, takes special care to ensure St Patrick's Day goes with a swing - a four day festival kicks off on March 16 and, as well as the obligatory parade, there are fun fairs, tours and events going on throughout the week.

London also provides a wealth of entertainment - more than 100,000 people are expected to attend the Mayor's St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival to experience live Irish music and dance, crafts, culture and the parade from Green Park to Trafalgar Square.

While here in the UK, we can expect a sea of green ribbons, hats and balloons, in Chicago the river itself is dyed green providing a spectacle unlike any other.

And the city of New York, which does parades better than any other, will once again play host to a St Patrick's Day parade, which first took place there in 1762. Over one million people will be on hand to watch the 150,000 marchers as the sound of traditional Irish music fills the city.

So wherever you are for St Patrick's Day, join in the celebrations and raise a pint of the black stuff in honour of Ireland's famous feast day.

Where is your favourite place to celebrate St Patrick's Day? Let us know below...