Opinion: Dyeing the Chicago River is Cute

Mar 17, 2023

Everyone has their quirky little traditions for their quirky little holidays, and the city of Chicago is no different. Every year for St. Patrick’s Day, the Chicago River is dyed bright green using a vegetable dye. The dye is not harmful to the water and the organisms in the water, so why are some people so pressed about it?

The dyeing of the river is a unique celebration and a fun tradition that encourages togetherness and socializing with friends. I know so many people who go downtown to Chicago and take the train with all their friends. That sounds like a fun way to spend a Saturday; with your friends having fun in the city.┬áLet’s be real, would people actually care about St. Patricks Day if the river wasn’t green? The parade exists, but is it worth the trip into the city for all the people who make the trek from the suburbs? Personally, I don’t think they would. Dyeing the river gives people an excuse to hang out with their friends and go into the city and have a fun day.

I’ve heard that dyeing the river makes it seem artificial and uncared for, but the dyeing doesn’t mean the river isn’t being cared for; the neglect of the Chicago River doesn’t have anything to do with dyeing it green for St. Patrick’s Day. The river isn’t treated well because of people using it as their personal trash can, not because it’s dyed bright green once a year. Additionally, the river only stays green for two days, so the river goes back to its natural color of murky blue-green.

Dyeing the river also makes Chicago very unique. It highlights a city that is overshadowed by others because it isn’t as big or it isn’t as popular, but it’s a historically rich city that deserves to be highlighted more in a positive light, and dyeing the river gives Chicago that popularity. It’s nice to see the city get attention from the rest of the country for something unique it does. No one else dyes their river green in the country.

I like the celebration of a holiday that anyone can celebrate in any way that they want. The green Chicago river allows people to celebrate St. Patricks Day in any way that they want whether that be sitting in and watching the parade, or going downtown to see the bright green river.

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