For those of Irish descent, St. Patrick’s Day is a day-long celebration of heritage not unlike the rest of America’s Greek festivals, Italian festivals, and Oktoberfest. In fact, the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in New York City in 1762. Today, St. Patrick’s Day parades are bigger and greener than ever.

However, while you may know how to celebrate this day of green, white, and orange on US soil, there’s been quite a lot of confusion over how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland. To help clear up some of the mystery before your next international flight, here are some of the most common myths about Ireland’s St. Paddy’s Day festivities.

Myth #1: St. Patrick’s Day Is Very Conservative

performers at st. patrick's day in dublin, ireland

Image via Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0 – William Murphy

St. Patrick’s Day is a religious national holiday in Ireland. Although many families attend mass together early in the morning in order to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t as conservative as it used to be.

Since the 1990s and early 2000s, St. Patrick’s Day parades have become a lot larger, a lot greener, and a lot more fun. In fact, the parade is now considered the main event. Many people claim this is due to international tourists accustomed to boozy celebrations at Irish pubs, but the locals (especially in Dublin) are just as likely to pull on a silly hat and drape themselves in a green scarf in a display of festive patriotism.

Myth #2: St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland Is a Drinking Day

Two cute little girls wearing green hats and accessories celebrating St. Patrick's day

Although the streets of Dublin and other urban areas can become a little rowdy at night, especially with younger adults, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is very much a family-friendly holiday.

Children enjoy painting their faces and dancing at some of the local festivals. What’s more, because Irish pub culture is traditionally a social scene, even those who prefer to raise a pint on St. Paddy’s Day are sure to spend the day with their family and friends.

Myth #3: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations Are Tourist-y

Irish dancers

Approximately 42% of millennials say they’re influenced to travel because of photos shared on social media by friends and family. It’s for this reason that many younger Irish Americans search for cheap international travel options to fly to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day for the ultimate celebration.

However, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations aren’t as tourist-heavy as many travelers fear. Many parade floats tell Irish folk tales and include traditional songs that may be lost on those who aren’t local.

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