Arthur’s Day Extravaganza

9 Oct

          Arthur’s Day is a completely made up holiday organized in 2009 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Guinness Brewing Company. Although its purpose is to sell an incredible amount of alcohol, Arthur’s Day happened to be one of my favorite nights in Dublin because that was the night I truly was able to see its rich culture. This holiday is only celebrated in five distinct cities in the entire world (and growing), and during that day (purposefully chosen on a Thursday every year) many events and performances flocked to each destination to put on extraordinary shows.

            Waiting for school to end that day was excruciating; many of the festivities started at 6pm and I couldn’t wait to see what Arthur’s Day had to offer.  The fact that this holiday, like New Years Eve, had its own countdown was very unusual. By the time I was finally walking the streets in Dublin like I did every Thursday night, I immediately noticed a very obvious sense of sheer delight on everyone’s face. People were overcome with friendliness and excitement, and all they wanted to do was share it with me and have a good crack.

            In the Temple Bar area where I had been that night, music blasted from every bar and club that I had passed. The amount of live music played in Dublin is overwhelming; many small-unknown bands lit up the stage as their way to become known in the public. On the Guinness website each area of Dublin was mapped out and marked where which bar had performances or events hosted at. The amount of accessibility to events on such a large scale on an unimportant holiday surprised me.

            The emergence of the holiday has been extremely controversial within Ireland because of its sheer idiocy. Although Fianna Fail believes that Diageo (an alcohol company who puts on the event) should pay for extra police that evening, the people were observed to be quite calm and respectful in the streets. Tom Conroy, a participant in the holiday noted: “You don’t have to pay to hear some of your favorite bands or musicians, it’s good in that respect. You don’t have to drink, no one’s forcing you to drink” (Irish Times). This bystander argues that this holiday happens to be a festive day for the population to enjoy popular music and not have to be pressured to drink too much like what outsiders believe.

Even though this holiday does not have to do with the history of Ireland (or any other country), people celebrated it like it was. In Dublin, the Irish people were creating history for their country, and it was right in front of my eyes. This holiday will  now repeat every year, and when it occurs I will remember how much fun I had in the heart of Dublin creating history in a country I had just arrived.

Erica Nesses

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