St. Patrick Day Traditions
- On the Saturday morning before St. Patrick’s Day, 40 pounds of dye are poured into the Chicago River at 10:00 am. The tradition dates back to 1962 when city workers use to dye to trace illegal discharges. In 2009, in keeping with the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day tradition, at the request of First Lady Michelle Obama, who is a Chicago native, the White House fountains were dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
- The three leaf shamrock was used by Saint Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity. Today it is a tradition to wear a shamrock in hopes that it will bring you good luck.
- Green shirts, shoes, hats, glasses – anything goes on this day as long as it’s green. But green wasn’t always the original color. An earlier colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue, but green grew in popularity after Saint Patrick was believed to have worn shamrock-inspired clothing. In the Irish Rebellion of 1798, soldiers wore full green uniforms as a political statement on March 17th.
- Kiss me I’m Irish! It’s said that this saying comes from the belief that kissing the Blarney Stone, which is set in the wall of Blarney Castle in Ireland, will bring you good luck. Since most people can’t make it to kiss the stone in person, a tradition came about that kissing an Irishman or woman was the next best thing to bring good luck.
- If you see people walking around with those big green hats, chances are they’re channelling their inner leprechaun. In Irish folklore, a fairy takes the form of an old man in a green coat that brings mischief to whoever he meets. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll lead you to the pot of gold.