Friday Is St. Patricks Day

St. Patricks Day is tomorrow and I thought a little background on the holiday would help. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17, the anniversary of his death in the fifth century.

The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. 

Photo by Jill Wellington on

The Chicago River Dyed Green

As Irish immigrants spread out over the United States, other cities developed their own traditions. One of these is Chicago’s annual dyeing of the Chicago River green. The practice started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday. That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river–enough to keep it green for a week. Today, in order to minimize environmental damage, only 40 pounds of dye are used, and the river turns green for only several hours.

This is probably where green beer started for those who partake. I know over the years, when I drank and went to parties, no one thought about it being a religious holiday. Now we know.

I wish you a happy St. Patrick’s day and all the festivities.




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