The Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day Around the World
Rowers navigate the Chicago River shortly after it was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Illinois. The city has been dyeing the river green for over 50 years, marking the start of their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The tradition started when city pollution workers used green dye to trace illegal waste dumpings, and it’s only grown in popularity since then.
Mark Hamill (R) is greeted by Saint Patrick as the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade takes place on March 17, 2018, in Dublin, Ireland. Star Wars actor Mark Hamill was the first-ever international guest of honor at the parade. Every year, Dublin becomes a sea of green as locals and tourists alike come out to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. The parade is just one of many events that take place during the week-long festivities.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, not just Ireland and the United States. In fact, the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade takes place in New York City, with over 2 million spectators each year. Other major celebrations take place in cities like Boston, Sydney, and Tokyo.
While St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration, it has also become heavily commercialized in many places, with businesses using it as an opportunity to sell themed merchandise and promotions. In recent years, there has been criticism of “greenwashing” or “pinkwashing,” where companies use the holiday as a means of promoting themselves without making any meaningful contributions to the causes they’re representing.
Despite the controversies surrounding commercialization, there’s no denying that St. Patrick’s Day is a major economic event. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent over $5.6 billion on St. Patrick’s Day in 2020, with much of that money going towards food, drink, and apparel. The holiday is also a boon for the tourism industry, with many people traveling to major cities to take part in the festivities.