Today I got to celebrate this great holiday with all of London! My friends and I went down to Piccadilly Circus for London’s St. Patrick’s Day parade! The streets were lined with people of all ages ready to join in on the festivities!
Throughout my time in London, I have come to love London’s diverse culture. This blended culture was especially apparent today at the parade. Even though St. Patrick’s Day is a very Irish holiday, people of all sorts of ethnicities and cultures were joining in on the celebration in London. While standing along the street waiting for the parade to start, I could hear Americans on my right, who were in London on holiday. On my left was a British couple as well as an Irish family, behind me, was a couple speaking Spanish, and in front of me was a group of men from France. Only in London could you be surrounded by so many cultures at one time!
Not only did the parade bring about a diverse audience, it also provided a diverse performance. While the parade consisted of the traditional Irish step dancers and bands, it also included traditional Indian and Bolivian dances. At first, I was surprised by this and began to think that these non-Irish dancers seemed out of place. But then it got me thinking about London as a community. During my time here so far, I have seen people from all walks of life. This city is known for amazing Indian food, a great China town, French-style bakeries and cafes, and so much more. Walking around London is almost like taking a walk around the world. People of just about every race, religion, and ethnicity call London home. Everyone is included here; no one seems to be left out. In a city like this, why wouldn’t other cultures be included in celebrating this holiday? So even though this day is tied in with Irish culture, today I was able to experience it in the true spirit of London—with people from all over the world—and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!
Lisa Valentine, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Veritas London Spring 2013