Green Day

We all hear about it year by year, the shamrock, the colour, the tons of fun it brings along. What’s more, now you can even take part in the spectacular parade organized in the Hungarian capital. St. Patrick’s Day has become widely popular around the world: many cities turn into green all across the globe to celebrate the day of the Irish saint. To properly introduce the special date, we needed some help. Mark Downey, vice-president of the Irish-Hungarian Business Circle was kind enough to give us some insights into the green celebration!

The Irish-Hungarian Business Circle is an organization that came to life in 2005 to support the social and business networks between the two countries. They devotedly work on bringing the Irish cultural heritage, historical background and traditions closer to locals as well as establishing a kind of safety net for Irish people living in Budapest by organizing several events and exciting programs to both the Irish and the Hungarian. As St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, we had a chat with Vice-President Mark Downey about his memories and experiences with regard to the Greenest Day of the year!

How do you usually spend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland?

Mark: St Patrick’s Day is on 17 March and is a national holiday in Ireland. Generally people will wear something green on the day or also pin an Irish flag or shamrock to their clothes. For families it is popular to attend their local St Patricks Day parade. In Dublin, the parade has grown significantly in recent years and is a huge spectacle. Some people say it’s like the Irish version of the Rio Carnival – in cold weather. Despite this it attracts tourists from all over the world.

What are your favourite things about this date? Any fond memories maybe? 

Mark: I am proud to be Irish and therefore this day reminds me of our national heritage more than any other day. It is celebrated all over the world from New York to Sydney. One of my favourite childhood memories is sitting on my father’s shoulders as we watched the parade in Dublin. One of my biggest achievements in life is introducing the St Patrick’s Parade to Budapest which is growing every year.

How do you celebrate it as an expat living in Budapest? Is it important to you to keep such traditions and if it is so, how can you manage it while living abroad? 

Mark: As I mentioned above I was heavily involved in bringing the St Patrick’s parade to Budapest. This is growing since we started in 2011. Last year, over 4000 people celebrated in our parade. We hope to grow the parade into a true festival, going forward. We also organise a St Patrick’s Gala dinner which has been going on since 2006 as part of the activities of the Irish Hungarian Business Circle. It is very important for me (and I think for most Irish people) to keep connection with their “Irish-ness”. The Irish are very familiar with having families spread all over the world, but generally they are all active in celebrating St Patricks Day.

Find them on facebook: fb/StPatricksDayBudapest or at!