St. Patrick’s Day – How it is celebrated around the World?

What is St Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on the 17th March each year. The day is named after Saint Patrick who is the most well-known patron saints of Ireland and the day itself commemorates different things depending on the religion. For Catholics, in the early 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day became an official feast day. For Christians, it celebrates the arrival for Christianity in Ireland.

In the present day, however, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration of Ireland and Irish culture. It is celebrated by Irish communities all over the world.

Why Is The Colour Green Associated With St Patrick’s Day?

Since the beginning of the 17th century, the colour green has been worn for celebration of St Patrick’s Day. Interestingly, the colour that was originally associated with St. Patrick was blue. This appeared to change when St. Patrick used a shamrock – a green three leaved plant – to explain the Holy Trinity to the Pagan Irish.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in America

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t an official holiday in North America but that doesn’t stop some of the major cities from celebrating the day.

In Chicago, the Irish are one of the biggest communities so of course celebrations are extravagant. Every year, thousands of people gather at the banks of the Chicago River as they watch a boat release dye into the water turning the river a wonderful green colour as it makes its way through the city. A parade takes place as well however this is more of a celebration for the people who have Irish heritage, but that doesn’t mean others can’t join in!

If the day itself wasn’t enough, Chicago American Football team, Chicago White Sox, are well known for their September celebration of ‘Halfway to St Patrick’s Day’ celebrations. Instead of wearing their traditional colour of black, they wear white jerseys with green pinstripes.

New York City holds the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. It is a five hour long procession on a 1.5 mile route. Approximately 150,000 people participate in the parade which includes bands, fire fighters, police officers, and cultural clubs. Two million people line the streets to watch. This St. Patrick’s Day parade is the oldest civilian parade in the world.


St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ohio 2013 – photography by Jack W. Pearce of Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

Celebrating St. Patrick‘s Day in New Zealand and Australia

The Irish have a large presence in New Zealand and Australia due to large numbers of immigration or convicts who were sent there in the 19th century. St. Patrick’s Day in Australia and New Zealand is seen to celebrate links with Ireland.

Although it’s not taken quite as seriously as some of the cities in America, many people still wear green items of clothing and there are many drinking activities that start in the early afternoon and carry on into the early morning of the next day.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the United Kingdom

St Patrick’s Day is very popular with students in the UK. Many university’s student unions put on special events throughout the day and club events on at night.

There are numerous St. Patrick’s Day parades that take place throughout England during the day and even in the run up to it. Manchester holds a festival that starts two weeks prior to the event itself. There is a large parade and cultural activities during this time.

Like Australia and New Zealand, Glasgow has a large Irish population due to immigration in the 19th century, so of course there are many celebrations within the city. They began an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival in 2007.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Have you got anything planned for St. Patrick’s Day? Where in the world are you celebrating? Let us know in the comments box below!

And don’t forget, you can call Ireland for just 1p/min in an instant with Pocketdial!

Mother’s Day is this Sunday in the UK

What is Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world on different days throughout the year, depending on the country. Across the world, it is mainly celebrated throughout March, April and May. Mother’s Day as it is known today was first celebrated in America. In some countries it is linked to older religious traditions.  However, in America it’s a more commercial holiday. On Mother’s Day, it is common for each person to give a gift to their mother to show appreciation for everything they do.


Religious Links/Traditions of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is linked to different religious and historical events as it is adopted by more countries. Celebrations of Mother’s Day can vary a lot from country to country. In the UK, historians believe that Mother’s Day was originally where everybody, especially young people or children who were working as servants, was given the day off to visit family or their ‘mother’ church. Many mothers would be reunited with their children. Everyone came together which resulted in it being known as ‘Mothering Sunday’.

Mother’s Day in the USA

Mother’s Day in America is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The holiday as it is today was first initiated by Anna Jarvis in 1908. Her mother’s dream was to have a holiday that celebrated mothers for their hard work. The idea didn’t take off at first. She then enlisted the help of a wealthy merchant and heavily promoted the idea. President Woodrow Wilson made the holiday official in 1914.

Mother’s Day became incredibly successful.  However, along with this came the highly commercialised side of it, which Anna Jarvis hated. When she died in 1948 she regretted starting up the holiday.

Mother’s Day is now one of the biggest celebrated holidays in the USA. Sales of flowers and greetings cards really benefit from the holiday and without their support for the holiday over the years it is quite possible that Mother’s Day may not be what it is today.

Mother’s Day in the UK

Unlike many European countries, where it’s celebrated on the second Sunday of May, Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom is always celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, it was never related to the American celebration. Churches still celebrate it as the original religious celebration. However, due to globalisation and commercialism, much of the religious aspect has now been forgotten.

US soldiers who came over to the UK for World War II brought with them their own traditions of Mother’s Day, and it became merged with the more Christian holiday of Mothering Sunday. Many people are not aware that the two holidays used to be separate. Like in America, florists and greetings cards companies enjoy a higher demand during this holiday. Many families see it as a day to do something together.  Many go out for the day or to restaurants in the evening.

Mother’s Day Around the World

The American version of Mother’s Day has been widely adopted in many other countries; they have just changed the date of it to suit their calendar. This means it is not always celebrated on the second Sunday in May, but it is essentially the same holiday.

Remember to thank your mum this Mother’s Day, for everything that she has done for you! If you are far away from your mum, do remember to give her a call. Pocketdial UK can help you to reduce the cost of your internatinal calls.

What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year? Please share in the comments below!

Jet Lag – Tips on how to avoid Jet Lag when Flying to and from the UK

What is Jet Lag?


Jet lag is the tiredness and lethargy experienced following a long haul flight, when the body’s natural rhythm or sleeping pattern is thrown out by crossing different time zones. Anyone can get jet lag, but it is more common, and the symptoms are more profound, in the over 60’s.

There are 24 different time zones in the world and when you cross these it can disrupt your body clock. For example, if you were flying from London to Bangkok, Bangkok is seven hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). If the flight left London at 9am, and the flight time was roughly 11 hours, the arrival time would be 8pm UK time, but 3am Bangkok time. You can see that thinking it is the evening when it is actually the morning will certainly throw out your body’s natural rhythm!

Jet lag cannot be completely avoided, but the symptoms can be reduced, and there are things that you can do to help your body clock adjust as soon as possible.

Avoid jet lag when flying

Image by Kossy@FINEDAYS on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Preparing for Jet Lag – Before the Flight

It is a good idea to research the time differences from the UK, and start to change your sleep routine a few days before your flight departure. gives you a personal plan to help you to prepare for the journey and reduce the effects of jet lag.  You simply enter your flight times and destinations. It will then provide you with a plan of what to eat, when to eat and when to go to bed, so that you can be fully prepared for that all important long haul journey.

Do go to bed early and get plenty of sleep before your flight. You may also want to consider an online check-in, which is offered by most airlines these days. This will make check in quick and easy, reducing stress before the flight.

Reducing the effects of Jet Lag – During the flight

When you board the plane, or even before boarding, it is a good idea to adjust your watch to the time of your destination. It is easy to become dehydrated during a long haul flight, so drink lots of water.  Avoid alcohol and caffine if possible, as they can contribute to the effects of jet lag.  Ear plugs and an eye mask might help you to get more sleep during a flight – sleep as much as you can whilst on the plane. But do remember to take a walk around the cabin from time to time, and stretch your arms and legs whilst seated, to avoid Deep Vain Thrombosis (DVT).

Reducing the Effects of Jet Lag – When you Arrive at your Destination

When you arrive at your destination and experience jet lag, try to avoid napping as soon as you get there. Establish a new routine as soon as possible. It is a good idea to spend time outdoors, as the natural light will help your body to adjust.

Wherever you are travelling in the world, have a fantastic trip. Remember, you can always keep in touch with your friends abroad through PocketDial UK.

Chinese New Year in the UK – How and when is it Celebrated?

When is Chinese New Year?

This year China is set to celebrate New Year on Sunday February 10th. The date of Chinese New Year varies every year as the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar and solar calendars. However, Chinese New Year usually falls from late January to mid February. The celebrations begin on the first day of the lunar month and continue for 15 days. The Chinese New Year celebrations signify the start of new life and the beginning of spring farming begins.


Traditional Chinese New Year Celebrations

Before the Chinese New Year begins, families spring clean their homes to sweep away the bad luck, ready for a new start. Homes are then decorated and visits are made to family and friends. The first week of Chinese New Year celebrations is all about family and friends, visiting and wishing them good luck for the New Year. They wish each other “Kung Hei Fat Choi”, which means Happy New Year in Chinese. On New Years Eve everyone gathers with families and has a wonderful meal – what is eaten is dependent on the region of China. Fireworks are set off and everyone wears red.

On New Year’s day children are given red envelopes filled with money and sweets from their families.  New year ends with the Lantern festival. The lanterns are hand decorated and are hung from windows and large paper and bamboo dragons are made which young men dance with and collect money.


The Legend behind Chinese New Year

According to legend, New Year began in China with a fight against a mythical beast, named Nian. It is thought that Nian would arrive in villages on the first day of the New Year to feast on animals, crop and even villagers – to protect their livelihood villagers would put out food for Nian. The story continues, with a young child scaring Nian away as he was scared on the colour red and other villagers chasing him away with firecrackers. From this story, came many of the Chinese New Year traditions; red scrolls are hung on windows, fireworks and lanterns are a major part of celebrations and food is a major part of the festivities.


British Chinese Community

Chinese New Year celebrations in London are the largest celebration outside of Asia. Celebrations take place in the West End and Trafalgar Square – with a parade, entertainment and performances from the local community.


Chinese Zodiac signs

Chinese New Year 2013: Year of the Snake

Each New Year in China brings a new zodiac sign known as Sheng Xiao in Chinese – this year will be the year of the snake. There are twelve animal zodiacs, which run on a cycle. Each year corresponds to a different animal based around the lunar calendar. The signs are as follows; rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Those born in the year of the snake are said to be good tempered and financial secure, yet often jealous and suspicious.

To find out your sign and what that means have a look here.

How are you celebrating Chinese New Year?

Don’t forget, you can phone China for just 1p a minute.

Super Bowl 2013! Kick off times and the Half Time Show

With the Super Bowl just days away, we thought we would give you a rundown of what to expect from Sunday’s spectacular. From the game itself to the half time show – Super Bowl Sunday provides a great evening of entertainment for young and old. Whether you are a fan or have never seen a game of American football in your life – you’re sure to be entertained.

Who’s playing at the Super Bowl 2013?

After weeks of play offs, it all came down to Championship games on Sunday 20th January to find out who would make it to the Super Bowl final to decide the 2013 NFL champions. San Francisco 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24, booking themselves a place in the 47th Super Bowl final along with Baltimore Ravens, who beat the New England Patriots 28-13.

Kick off times for Super Bowl 2013?

The big game will be held on Sunday 3rd February in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. TV coverage will start at 6.00pm US time (23.00 UK time), with kick off at 6.30pm.

Super Bowl 2013 Half-Time Show!

The Super Bowl is famed for its half time show – every year spectators await the announcement as to who has been picked to entertain the crowds in what is given to be a spectacular. The budget is sure to be enormous and the producers are always the best in business. Acts such as Prince, The Rolling stones, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson have graced the Super Bowl stage in the past, and the support acts are just as fantastic. Last year Cee Lo Green and Nicki Minaj joined Madonna and in 2011 Slash and Usher supported The Black Eyed Peas.

2013 is set to be the biggest show yet. On 16th October this image was all over the internet before gracing the advertisement boards in Times Square:

Beyonce confirmed for Super Bowl 2013. Source: Huffington Post

Given that just a few weeks ago Beyoncé announced that Destiny’s child have reformed and will be releasing their new album on 4th Feb – I think we might be able to guess who will be joining her on stage.

 Interesting Super Bowl 2013 Facts

The 47th Super Bowl final will be the first ever final when two brothers will be head to head. Head coaches for both teams, John Harbaugh for the Baltimore Ravens and Jim Harbaugh for the San Francisco 49ers will face each other on Sunday 3rd for Super Bowl 2013. The last time the brothers played one another was in the 2011 Thanksgiving match, when we saw the Ravens beat the 49’s 16-6.

Super Bowl 2013 will be the 10th time that New Orleans have hosted the event – a record which is only matched my Miami. This will also be the first time they have hosted since Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city in 2005.

Reports suggest that Hurricane Katrina caused over $1 billion of damage to New Orleans, yet it is thought that the Super Bowl will generate over $432 million on Feb 3rd alone and the publicity for the city will be priceless.

Super Bowl 2013 Commercials

TV advertising during the Super Bowl is the most lucrative in the business. It is estimated that adverts during the game reach up to 90 million people, making the price tag for a Super Bowl advert in the millions.

Companies also invest millions in the adverts themselves, so viewers can expect adverts as breath taking as the show itself.

Companies lay out big bucks for celebrities to appear in their commercials. Last year we saw Matthew Broderick parody his role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for Honda. This year, expect to see Kate Upton making an appearance for Mercedes Benz.

Super Bowl 2013 is set to be truly incredible, so sit back and enjoy the show.


Did you know that you can call the US for just 1p a minute?

Welcome to our brand new site!

We are excited to announce the relaunch of

We have come a long way since we first started offering cheap international calls 10 years ago. Since then we have grown to where we are today with over 2,000 customers using us every month!

The one thing that has never changed is our unwavering mission to make it as easy as possible for you to make cheap calls abroad. And that’s exactly why we have updated the site. When we began we were very much focused on saving you money on calls from landlines. Well things have changed since then and a lot of people don’t even have a landline!

That’s why we now have 2 main products:

Cheap international calls from landlines

  • Dial one of our special prefix numbers before dialling the international number. All you pay for is the cost of dialling the access number which can be as little as 1p per minute. The cost of dialling the access number appears on your usual phone bill (say BT for instance), so you don’t need to pay anything to PocketDial.
  • You can buy £5 of  international calling credit by sending a text message to a special number. £5 is charged to your phone bill and you are credited with £5 of international calling credit. After a small connection charge, you can enjoy rates as low as 1p per minute to call a number of countries including the USA, India and even Australia. You have a choice of access numbers which in some cases can be dialled as part of your inclusive mobile minutes!

We do hope you like the new site. As always if you have any feedback, please do contact us…we love hearing from our customers.

And if you love the site, please like us on Facebook where you can keep up to date with any news or rate changes.

Happy calling!