Chicago River Dyed Green

March 17, 2023
Chicago river dyed green with boat in the water

We believe that’s where the Leprechaun comes in.

The Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 on its tradition of dying the Chicago River green for the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

How It Works: The Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130 has a "secret sauce" they use to turn the river temporarily green. The "leprechaun dust" is derived from vegetables and considered environmentally friendly.

Why It Matters: St. Patrick's Day is a popular Irish (and Irish-American) holiday, and is now celebrated by many around the world — especially throughout North America and Australia. It commemorates the traditional March 17 death of Patrick, a missionary bishop and the patron saint of Ireland, who died around 492.

Did You Know? While Ireland is known as the "Emerald Isle," the tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick's Day actually began in America. The color green in the Irish flag symbolizes nationalism; Irish Americans began wearing green as a reminder of their Irish roots. It has also taken on the mythical belief that wearing green makes people invisible to leprechauns.

How the river is dyed green

Answers to your St. Patrick's Day questions: Who he was, why we wear green and more (USA Today)

Return of a St. Patrick's Day tradition in Chicago brings cheer and a green river (CNN)

by Jenna Lee,