Why the Chicago River is Dyed Green every Saint Patrick’s Day



Chicago river is dyed green every Saint’s Patrick Day.

There are lots of fun and unusual traditions for every holiday all across the globe, but there’s one that stands out. Every year, the city of Chicago dyes the Chicago River green to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day. But how did this unusual tradition originate?
The unusual tradition started in 1962, when city workers poured 100 pounds of green dye into the Chicago River, leaving the entire river green for a week. This green dye was part of an effort to clean the Chicago River, which had become almost like a landfill. As the population of Chicago increased, the river got dirtier and dirtier, but so did efforts to clean the river. A few waste treatment plants were created to help clean the river, as well as a canal to reverse the flow of the river so that clean water would flow in from Lake Michigan. When Richard J. Daley became the mayor of Chicago in 1955, he wanted to develop property on the riverfront. In order to do so, he assigned city workers to identify the source of the waste that was getting into the river, and then mark it with green dye. The mayor later wanted to dye some of Lake Michigan green for Saint Patrick’s day but was convinced by his friend Stephen M. Bailey, the business manager of the Chicago Plumbers Union, to instead dye the Chicago River. This eventually turned into an annual tradition.
There is much concern about what the dye is made of because the ingredients for the dye are being kept a secret. Many environmental groups are worried that some individuals might use this tradition as a way to use other harmful dyes to color the river. This may harm the ecosystem and maybe even make the rivers uninhabitable. Even though many other cities such as Indianapolis, San Antonio, and Tampa have begun to dye their rivers green in celebration of Saint Patrick’s day, this could be very bad if some unauthorized individuals decided to use harmful dyes to color their rivers. The dye was originally made with an oil-based but has since been changed to use an orange powder instead. The dye is distributed through the river by two boats, with one dumping the powder in while the other stirs the water.
This strange and fun tradition was born without even it being intended for what it is now, and will probably continue for years to come.