St. Patty’s Day: Chicago’s Favorite Holiday

The Chicago River annually gets died in honor of the St. Patricks day parade.

The Chicago River annually gets died in honor of the St. Patricks day parade.

By Teodora Simic, Staff Writer

Saint Patrick’s Day is the one day of the year that all of Chicago goes completely green. Many people who live in and around Chicago get together downtown to embrace their version of the spirit of St. Patrick.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a tradition in Chicago, along with dyeing the river green. Many people from Chicago describe themselves as “chi-rish” on this day. This year, the parade started at Congress and Balboa and continued north on Columbus Drive. The parade is a great sight for families and people who genuinely want to witness St. Patrick celebrations. But, the real partying happens everywhere else in downtown Chicago.

I went to the parade this year with a large group of friends, and I didn’t see even a small portion of the actual parade. Instead, I got a great view of people vomiting and groups of kids fighting each other. Everywhere I turned, I was bound to see something wild happening. Ambulances were struggling to get through the large crowds of people as they were heading to pick up people who “celebrated” a little too hard. Despite this, the overall vibe of the city was coming together as one to embrace a culture.

Aside from a few negatives, the parade is a chance to become closer to people you already know or meet others from all over the Chicago-land area. Getting ready for the parade began at 9 A.M., not including the shopping that took place before the actual date for my St. Patty’s Day socks, shirts, sweaters, and other various accessories. My friends and I got to the train at 1o A.M., and by this time people were already filling the station. The ride was roughly an hour long and hands down probably one of the best parts of the whole day. Everyone is together in one train car, and everyone is having a good time.

By the time we all got downtown, everyone split up in different directions. Twenty of us scattered, and a lot of the parade was spent looking for each other and trying to meet up somewhere. Looking out on downtown on this day was literally like looking into a sea of green. This made finding people much harder because everyone was dressed the same. There were some people who stood out to me this year, including the man I saw in a complete velvet green tuxedo.

The weather was supposed to be in the 50s but it was absolutely freezing outside. On top of that, there were no public bathrooms anywhere. Many places closed their bathrooms off to the public because people were drinking and smoking in them. If you wanted to use the bathroom, you had to wait at least an hour no matter where you went. All the time you spend walking around and waiting gives you the perfect opportunity to run into people you know. I saw so many people from all different schools at the parade this year.

Overall, I had a pretty good experience at the parade this year. I was a part of the large sea of green and had fun indulging in Irish culture. I would not recommend the parade for families. Many inappropriate things go down at the parade, and it’s not something a child should witness. But, seeing the green river is always worth the trip downtown, even if it means you have to deal with a few rowdy kids. I’d recommend going with no more than four. No one does St. Patrick’s Day the way Chicago does.