St. Patty’s Day Around the World

Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone! While many people would tell you that this holiday is about going out and being festive, it’s important to note that it’s about more than just drinking green beer and partying. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th every year on the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish observe today as a religious holiday, as it falls during the Christian season of Lent. So, Irish families would traditionally go to church in the morning and celebrate afterward with dancing, drinking and feasting. The customary meal for this holiday is Irish bacon and cabbage.

Up until recently in Ireland, the law mandated that all of the pubs be closed on March 17th. However, in 1995, in a campaign to drive tourism to the country, the Irish government decided to hold a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater and fireworks.

In the United States, we celebrate this holiday a bit Chicago Riverdifferently. The Chicago River is dyed green in celebration of the day – a creative way to bring the spirit of the season to its residents. This started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used vegetable dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges. They then realized that this dye produced a very festive side-effect: it turned the river green!

This day has evolved from a religious holiday to one of Irish patriotism around the world. Whether you are Irish or not, you have undoubtedly sampled a green beer, or at least tasted one of these traditional Irish dishes:

  • Irish Bacon and Cabbage
  • Corned Beef and Cabbage
  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Irish Soda Bread
  • Stuffed Cabbage
  • Potato Cakes

Whether you’re eating one of these tasty dishes or cooking it, don’t forget to wear your green chef coat for the occasion! Don’t have one? Pick one up at, and shop till you drop! Green Chef Coat


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