St. Patrick’s Day, held on 17th March, is one of the most popular religious festivals celebrated in the United States. The occasion marks the death anniversary of the foremost patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick.
While several American cities host terrific festivities on the day, Chicago celebrates the festival with greater zeal and enthusiasm. Read on to know more about this international festival and how it is celebrated in the “Windy City”!
About the Festival
St. Patrick’s Day is held on 17th of March every year. Also known as ‘Day of the Festival of the Patrick’, the festival is celebrated by millions all over the world, however, understandably, it is more popular among the Irish. Along with the United Kingdom, countries such as Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina celebrate the day in a grand manner.
‘Green’ is the colour of the festival. As part of the celebrations, one can find a wave of green across different cities. As a customary tradition, people wear shamrocks or green clothes and other accessories signifying a belief in the fact that St. Patrick used shamrock (a three leaved plant) to explain the Holy Trinity. A popular myth about wearing green is the fact that it makes you invisible and hence the leprechauns can’t pinch you!
Festival Traditions in Chicago
Dying the River Green
Dying the Chicago River green is one popular tradition of the festival. Every year, 45 pounds of eco-friendly dye is poured into the river. The river dying tradition dates back to 1962 when the city workers used the dye to trace illegal sewage discharges. Remember, the change in colour lasts only for 5 hours, so you got to hurry up to enjoy this incredible view! Best viewing spots in the city include the east side of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the west side of the Columbus Drive Bridge and along the Chicago Riverwalk.
Packed with Irish elements, St. Patrick’s Day parade is a fabulous event to look forward to. Downtown Chicago’s official St. Patrick’s Day parade begins at noon at the intersecting point of Columbus and Balbo drives and continues north to Columbus. The main viewing stand is placed in front of the Buckingham Fountain, where dancers and bands halt to wave at the crowd. A number of restaurants and bars dot the path of the parade; you can celebrate the day by having scrumptious meals and drinks. The festivities do not end after the parade, there’s lot more interesting things taking place in different parts of the city.
Drinking Green Beer
Not by tradition but by practice, drinking green beer is a popular element of the festival. Bars and lounges across the city offer a wide variety of drinks and dishes in the honour of the occasion. The celebrations and offers start early in the morning and continue till late night.
The festivities and celebrations can also be enjoyed at some of the city’s most popular attractions including Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Cultural Centre, Daley Plaza, Millennium Park, and Buckingham Fountain.