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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Eire Cheer, Green Beer to Soak City

Colors, most notably red, seem to be much in discussion today, especially with elections coming up. But on Sunday, Moscow will turn emerald green as St. Patrick's Day brings a parade and beer the color of a shamrock to Novy Arbat.


Moscow's St. Patrick's Day parade -- this one is the fifth -- is traditionally held on a Sunday. But this is the first time the holiday itself has fallen on a Sunday, which makes things a little easier for parade organizers and participants.


City authorities, it seems, don't like to block off the streets during the week.


"For something that isn't Russian, they can't really stop traffic," said Laura Mack, marketing director for Guinness in Moscow. "But they do stop traffic on Sundays."


Though precise figures are not available, Moscow's Irish community is small but highly visible. The city is becoming home to a growing number of Irish pubs and businesses.


Other than by providing a lot of beer, Mack said, there's no surefire way of getting the meaning of St. Patrick's Day across in Moscow. But the Irish themselves seem to marvel at Moscow's modest celebration. The parade will be shown live on Irish television during a special broadcast that brings St. Patrick's Day celebrations from all of the world back to the Emerald Isle.


For the record, St. Patrick's Day marks the deeds of Ireland's patron saint, who is said to have converted Ireland with the aid of shamrock, and to have banished snakes from the country either by driving them out in front of himself, trampling on them or charming them into the water, depending on one's legend of choice. One story has it that he called them all together, gathered them into a box, and tossed them in the sea.


Moscow's parade features 43 participants, including dance groups, choirs, baton twirlers, the local Irish pubs and even, according to Mack, an orphanage.


"It's a very interesting combination of participants," she said. The parade starts at 2 p.m. and marches along Novy Arbat from Kutuzovsky Prospect and passes a reviewing stand in front of -- where else? -- the Irish House. The parade should last about an hour and a half.