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 You are in: Special Report: 1998: 03/98: stpatrick  
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Tuesday, 17 March, 1998, 12:32 GMT
From Russia with love to St Paddy
Marching band
Dublin is not the only place to celebrate Ireland's national day
The path of Irish emigrants to America and Britain is as well known as it is well trodden.

But it doesn't stop there. The Irish can claim to have made the world their home which is why St Patrick's Day is celebrated in some rather unexpected places.

This year, Moscow has been busy gearing up for its seventh St Paddy's Day parade.

When the pageant arrived in the Russian capital in 1992 it was the first non-political parade in the country, says John Boland, of Aer Rianta International.

Celtic cross
An artist in Virginia, USA, puts the finishing touches to a painted Celtic cross
The company, a subsidiary of Ireland's airport authority, arrived in Moscow a few years earlier to set up a duty free shop at the city Airport. In tow came a ready-made community of ex-patriates.

Adding a touch of green to the capital's then grey streets was roundly welcomed and the parade is now a firm fixture on the calendar. Big western multinationals have come on board in the form of sponsors.

"There's a great atmosphere on the day and we draw in big crowds, many of whom are Russians," says Mr Boland, whose company is the main supporter.

This year's procession through the heart of the city's shopping district comes with a stamp of approval from the Mayor of Moscow, who has issued a ukase (decree) banning all traffic from the parade route.

Singapore logo
St Patrick even has a following in South East Asia
Further east, China has not yet embraced St Patrick's Day in the manner of its former communist neighbour. Ex-pats in Beijing must enjoy their knees-up behind closed doors at one of the city's top hotels.

Tokyo lays claim to the biggest St Patrick's Day parade in Asia but there are also celebrations in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul and Phnom Penh.

In Australia, the sizeable population of Irish descent - estimated at seven million - guarantees there will be no half measures on the day. Sydney hosts the biggest jamboree which is predicted to draw a crowd of 30,000.

Links to more stpatrick stories are at the foot of the page.


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