St. Patrick’s Day has grown to become one of the most beloved annual holidays in many parts of the world. In recent years, the celebrations have featured much partying and pageantry. It is also an event that is famous for its parades. In fact, there are over a hundred parades held globally in countries including Ireland, Australia, the U.S., Canada, Singapore, and Japan. Crowds of people are expected to join in festivities while wearing green and sipping whisky in honour of the holiday’s patron saint.
The holiday’s religious roots have paved the way to making it a cultural celebration of all things Irish. It comes as no surprise that much of the merriment and parades are used as an opportunity to put on displays of Irish dance and music. The tradition of parades started in the Spanish colony of St Augustine in 1601 but soon ceased. They were later revived in the 1700s in Boston and New York, providing a wonderful focal point for the day’s celebrations and stirring those with Irish heritage to commemorate their ancestry.
The celebrations in the US also served to inspire those in Ireland to want to capitalise on the revelry. Consequently, in 1995 the Irish government came to officially recognise the tourism potential of the celebrations and began to use it as a means to promote the Irish culture and brand globally.
Now it is an official festival event spanning several days and attracts hundreds of thousands of revellers, travelling from different parts of the world to celebrate in Dublin. For local Irish businesses, it is an excellent opportunity to make some great sales, but at the core, it has a much deeper meaning.
St. Patrick’s Day provides those that are far from their homeland a chance to not just promote their culture, but also demonstrate their Irish pride. With celebrations being held in various parts of the world, including Sydney, it is a wonderful way for people that share the same heritage to feel in tune with goings-on back home and invite others in the communities they live in to share in their joyful celebrations. Hence the reason St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have grown to become major events in cities where there are significant Irish populations.
For HeadOffice Hair founder, Leanne Devine, the 17th of March marks not just an opportunity to honour her Irish heritage, but also commemorate a major milestone in her life when she chose to relocate to Sydney and open the doors of her business.
Having worked for many years in the salon business, she managed to garner much fame and accolades for her talent, including “Master Colorist” by Wella and “Exceptional New Stylist Award” from the Academy of Hair, Health and Beauty. She also went on to serve as a stylist to many notable figures of the day including the band members of Westlife and then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
She later decided to take her talents further afield to Sydney. By St. Patrick’s Day 2010, she went ahead to open the doors to her now renowned HeadOffice Hair salon which has taken the lead in advocating for the use of organic, ethically-sourced and sustainable hair products. Her environmentally conscious values have inspired.
In keeping with her charitable nature, Leanne has also made working with Sustainable Salons a significant aspect of her life. This social enterprise aims to help salon businesses and professionals adopt more sustainable behaviour when it comes to the generation and disposal of salon waste. They also host a myriad of community events that benefit the vulnerable and disadvantaged, including free grooming sessions and feeding programs for the hungry. Their other initiatives like recycling salon materials, e-waste repurposing, and matching their members to sustainably mined product suppliers are also similarly targeted at benefitting the community and the environment.
For Leanne, her work with Sustainable Salons is another way she can help serve the community she has grown to love and has supported her business through the years. She also works with other charitable organisations as a brand sponsor for Moody Active Wear which raises funding for women’s mental health in Australia and Ireland.
As a leading professional that is recognised both locally and abroad and part of the over 70,000-strong Irish born Australian population, Leanne values her Irish heritage that formed the foundation to becoming the person she is today and the success she has enjoyed thus far. This has motivated her to further offer support and sponsorship to various Irish events in Sydney, including fundraising and sporting events. She has also been a motivational speaker at the 2019 Irish Women Abroad ceremony.
St. Patrick’s Day also holds a significant importance to Leanne and her family for other reasons. She got married to her husband Barry on the 17th March 2014 and also received her Australian Citizenship on St. Patrick’s Day 2010.
With St. Patrick’s Day celebrations all set to kick off this weekend in Sydney, Leanne and her team encourage people to make a point of being part of the festivities. This year will see a resumption of the parade and other entertainment for revellers including live music performances, Irish dances, Irish language lessons, crafts, food and drink. There will also be children’s events, an Irish movie night, and Irish markets.
More than just a fun time to be had, this weekend’s celebrations are a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what makes being Irish so special. Whatever the history of St. Patrick’s Day, it has grown to become an event through which Irish culture can be showcased and celebrated around the world. Be a part of the festivities from the 19th-20th of March by joining us during the Sydney St Patrick Day Parade & Festival.