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Tuesday, March 17, 1998 Published at 11:30 GMT



World

St Patrick's Day - a world party
image: [ Russians acting out a traditional Irish battle to celebrate St Patrick's Day ]
Russians acting out a traditional Irish battle to celebrate St Patrick's Day

Around the world, the Irish, alongside their relatives and friends, are drinking black beer and painting the town green.

In Dublin, the celebrations for St Patrick's Day are looking to America and copying a Chicago stunt to flood the Irish capital's main river with green dye.


[ image: St Patrick's Day inspires face-painting ...]
St Patrick's Day inspires face-painting ...
The Irish have headhunted American plumber Michael Butler to help them get the shade of green just right.

But, according to the organiser of the Chicago parade, they could be throwing away money for Mr Butler's expertise.

"He just throws green vegetable dye off the back of a speedboat and the motor churns it up," Jim Sullivan said.


[ image:  ... and large murals alike]
... and large murals alike
Mr Butler flew to Dublin on Sunday after working on the St Patrick's Day event in Chicago to be on hand for the holiday on Tuesday and transform the Liffey river.

Tens of thousand are expected to pack the streets of the city, with people coming from around the world to drink in the atmosphere and the traditional drinks such as Guinness and Murphy's.

In Northern Ireland, celebrations will be held for the first time in Belfast. The parade's organisers say Protestants will join Catholics but many loyalist politicians refuse to take part.


Andrew Harding reports for the BBC World Service from Russia on Irish imperialism (2'34")
Irish-Americans have long celebrated on the day of Ireland's patron saint and many other countries are starting to join in what has become a world party.


[ image: Throwing the ingredients for an Irish stew into a US parade]
Throwing the ingredients for an Irish stew into a US parade
In Moscow, the seventh annual march passed along the Novy Arbat Avenue on Sunday. Russian military bands joined the 400 Irish people who live in the city.

The St Patrick's parade has caught on in Moscow since first being held in 1992 after the fall of communism.

Russian men also dressed as Irish warriors and acted out battle scenes. Many of those taking part said that because of their respective traditions, there was a close affinity between Russian and Irish people.






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