For many countries and places, Saint Patrick's day is a good excuse for a party. However, in Ireland, traditions in the past meant the celebrations were usually somber. No alcohol was allowed to be soled on the day in Ireland until that law was repealed in the 1960s. The day involved mass in the morning and then a military parade followed, reflecting the influence of the conflicts between the Unionist and nationalist elements from the early 20th century.
It was in the 1960s that people began to adopt the US version of celebrations, with the day often being associated with heavy drinking and parades. In the US, the celebratory tradition has since the 18th century been more a reflection of national and social identity. Rather than a somber day, it became more celebratory in Ireland as well in the 1960s. Although Irish Catholics often did face discrimination throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, their celebrations were generally more jovial, as little outward conflict was evident, unlike in Ireland. Some in the US began to use Saint Patrick's day celebrations as a way to reinforce stereotypes, such as drunken behavior among Irish Catholics. However, the positive jovial spirit also became attractive to those who were neither Irish and something not even Catholic. In the 1960s, as the Free Irish State moved beyond periods of conflict, Saint Patrick's day was seen more a reflection of national identity. US-style marketing, such as all things green, including beer and milkshakes, has also spread since the 1960s. In the US, the day became associated with everyone having an excuse for being Irish for a day at least. Thus, more similar to Halloween, celebrations in the United States of the holiday did not reflect national or cultural identity as much over time and became a more collective celebration. The US-style celebrations spread in many parts of the world, where Saint Patrick's day is not (unofficially at least) is often celebrated in such places as Japan and various parts of Europe. In the UK, Saint Patrick's day remained muted until the 1990s, mostly because of the Troubles and associated bombings that occurred. It was after the Good Friday agreement in 1998 that celebrations in the UK began to be more similar to the United States.