The Parades of Saint Patrick’s Day finally came back after two years of being forbidden. But as dancers pranced down the street and floats came passing by, there were also little messages and reminders that a country needs support from Ireland.
There’s always excitement around the world whenever Saint Patrick’s Day arrives. It’s the day of the year when we all celebrate the life of a man who brought Christianity to Ireland – or at least, that’s what it’s supposed to be. Nowadays, it’s the day of the year when one can break away from their Lent promises, dress up all bright in green, and indulge in alcohol – lots of alcohol!
This year, there was even more excitement as parades were finally allowed to take place again after two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When a friend suggested going to the parade happening in the center of Dublin, I was more than happy to go. While I didn’t go all out and deck myself in green, I did add a couple of sparkling shamrock stickers to my face. My friends and I arrived well before the start time, so we were able to find a spot close to the start of the parade.
With the parade taking place after two years, one would think that the theme of the parade would be about the world opening up after a long struggle with the pandemic. But as the displays began to make their way down O’Connell Street, it was clear that the theme this year was completely different.
Ladies walked down the street, holding a blue banner, the words ‘Strength In Unity’ in bright yellow lettering. Ukrainian flags were carried alongside the Irish flag by An Garda Siochana. Dancers wore blue ribbons and yellow flowers in their hair. Floats had little hearts attached, in blue and yellow.
Nearly a month has passed since Russia invaded Ukraine to worldwide outrage. The largest military conflict in Europe since the Second World War, over 3.2. million people have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in other countries. Russia has since been expelled from the Council of Europe and faces daily condemnation from across the globe.
Ireland has opened their doors to dozens of Ukrainians who have had to give up their lives because of a war they never wanted. It was recently announced that Ireland has now signed a European statement, condemning Russia’s actions and the belief that they must face the consequences of their invasion.
The signs of support for Ukraine in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade this year were subtle but strong at the same time. The parade was used to show everybody that Ireland is in support of Ukraine and is willing to help those who need it. Every aspect of the parade reminded the public that there is a country that needs support.
There was a particular part of the parade that really showed strong support for Ukraine. Members of the Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride community came strutting down the street, donned in bright rainbow colors holding out signs for everybody to see. The cards were written in different languages, but they all meant the exact same thing.
Hope for a better future, hope for an end to an unnecessary and unwanted war. The future may seem uncertain right now, but with strength and support, as the cards proudly stated in this year’s parade, there is hope for better things.