Saint Patrick’s Day is not till next Wednesday – but Irish revellers have been honouring their patron saint four days early in China. A street parade in downtown Shanghai attracted more than a thousand expats and locals – part of a series of events marking Ireland week in the city. Organisers said they were proud of the official recognition they’ve been granted.
“We’re the only international group to be allowed to parade on the streets of Shanghai, and that is a great honour for us as Irish people living in Shanghai,” said Eoin Murphy, president of Le Cheile, the Irish community in the city. “We wanted to organise a great celectration where we could celebrate and enjoy music and dance with our Chinese, Shanghainese, Irish and many international friends.”
This was the fourth official Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in Shanghai. An Irish government minister was among the guests. Chinese residents who came for the parade said they were happy that both countries’ traditions were on display.
“When I was in Dublin, we only saw Irish culture, said 28-year-old Din Ling. “At this event in Shanghai there are also many aspects of Chinese culture, which is good. Shanghai is such a cosmopolitan city… it’s good to have some form of Irish culture.”
The fact the event wasn’t on the scale of some other Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world didn’t matter. Locals are expecting more spectacular events when Shanghai hosts the World Expo 2010 beginning in May.