Do Italians Celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

First, it's important to note that St. Patrick's Day is not a traditional Italian holiday–it’s utterly Irish like Irish Spring. Italians have a rich cultural heritage and many traditional celebrations that are unique to the boot, such as Carnevale, La Festa di San Giovanni, and Ferragosto. Across the pond, Italian Americans have their own set of celebrations marked by festivals honoring various saints but mostly centered around Columbus Day (also known as Indigenous Peoples Day as not to appear remiss).  However, in recent years, St. Patrick's Day has become increasingly popular in Italy, particularly in larger cities with diversity. 

Many cities in Italy, such as Rome, Milan, and Florence, now host St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations. These events often feature traditional Irish music, dancing, and food. It's not uncommon to see people dressed in green or sporting shamrocks, the traditional symbol of St. Patrick's Day.  Some paisan may also choose to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by visiting Irish pubs or restaurants. These establishments serve traditional Irish dishes such as corned beef and cabbage or shepherd's pie.  Irish but not Italian at all.  

Despite the increasing popularity of St. Patrick's Day in Italy, some Italians may not understand the significance of the holiday. St. Patrick's Day commemorates the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to the country.  

The disconnect has been underscored in pop culture.  Mob movies or shows are always pitting Italian mobsters against Irish gangsters.  The words mobster and gangster are not exclusive to either ethnic group.  For instance, in an episode of the Sopranos, Christopher Moltisanti is shot several times and rushed to the hospital.  During hospitalization Christopher experiences clinical death for a minute but doctors manage to revive him.  The brush with death was heavy and hard to watch as expected for Christopher suffered several close range gunshot wounds.  For levity once Christopher’s condition is stabilized Soprano writers throw in a tale told by a loopy Christopher numbed out on morphine.  Although clinically dead for no more than a minute, Chris shares how he went to hell and because he is Italian hell is an Irish bar named the “Emerald Piper” where everyday is St. Patty’s Day.  Why?  Point being, the Irish and the Italians according to Hollywood at least do not get along.  

Therefore, if Italians anywhere are rejoicing on St. Patty’s Day we think it’s great to counter stereotypes no matter how hilarious that there is animosity between two ethnic groups.