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This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.

There's just something in the air every March 17th. On that fateful day, everything goes green with a lively celebration of Irish culture not just on the Island but the world over. We're talking, of course, the Saint Patrick's Day and the green mania that grips the young, the old, and everyone in between.

Belgrade, too, is not immune to this holiday, albeit only in its secular form. The city celebrates St. Patrick's in its own way, with city lights, concerts and special offerings in dedicated pubs. But before we give you a couple of suggestions on where to be, let's dig a little into the holiday's history.

Who Was the Man?

Saint Patrick is Ireland's national apostle and the country's patron saint. He is credited for bringing the Christian faith to 5th-century Ireland.

He actually returned to Ireland after being taken there as a slave much earlier. During his missionary work, Saint Patrick established churches, schools, and monasteries and found himself at the focal point of the nation's healthy legend-weaving talent.

Why March 17th?

That's the agreed date of Saint Patrick's death. The first celebration took place as early as the 10th century, and with the strong Irish immigration in the U.S., its fervor spread all over the map.

Today, Saint Patrick's Day is just as big in New York and Boston as it is in Dublin, although with more of a secular bent to it. For instance, New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade is the oldest and biggest of its kind in the States, with more than 150k people wearing green during the 5-hour-long procession.

St. Patrick is also big in Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Russia.

Why Leprechauns?

For one reason or another, Leprechaun is the most iconic creature related to the holiday. Its name derives from a Celtic word translated as 'small-bodied fellows.' Whatever the case, these little have imprinted onto the world's imagination and are inseparable from the holiday. Why?

We don't know.

Where to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Belgrade?

What we do know is where to be when the day finally comes.

Although not crazy about the holiday, the city has a healthy program for the occasion, with Guinness bottles all around and the most iconic city sites glowing green.

It all started with the 11th edition of the one and only Belgrade Irish Fest (BIF), well underway across several city locations. The BIF will reach its boiling point with the St. Patrick Weekend program at Harat's Irish pub.

Krokodil pub also has a flashy program for the weekend, with the visiting Chris Agee reading his Blue Sandbar Moon poetry collection on the 17th and Jacob Agee engaged in literary talks the next day.

Moreover, documentary fans should head to the Kinoteka cinema for a quick Irish movie fix.

And Any Concerts?

You bet!

Traditionally, for the 30th time running, Serbian Rock & Roll band Orthodox Celts will have their annual merry-go-round in Belgrade Youth Center on the 17th. There’s nothing like celebrating St. Patrick's with the sing-song lyrics of The Celts Strike Again (1996), Green Roses (1999), or Rocky Road to Dublin (1999).

Additionally, another Serbian Rock band with a strong Irish flavor throws a party a day later. Irish Stew of Sindidun drops at Božidarac club on Saturday, joined by Scordisci band bringing some of that Irish punk seasoning into the mix.

Last we heard, there were still tickets available. But only just.


This article is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this program are the responsibility of Nova Iskra and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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