St. Patrick’s Day may have made its start in Ireland, but today, the holiday is celebrated all around the world by people of various backgrounds, especially throughout Canada, Australia, and the United States.
As the observance of Irish culture spread across the globe, many cities developed their own traditions.
For instance, in the United States, there is a city in Florida that dyes a whole river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
The city of Tampa holds an annual St. Patrick’s Day festival called River O’Green Fest, and this year it will take place on March 18.
There will be a gathering at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, complete with live music, kids’ activities, food, and plenty of beer. The tradition was created in 2012 when Bob Buckhorn was elected mayor.
The festival includes the custom of dyeing the Hillsborough River an emerald green shade. I know what you must be thinking. Isn’t the dye harmful to the creatures who make the river their home?
Not to worry; the dye used to color the water is nontoxic, biodegradable, and is actually declared safe to use around and in drinking water by the National Sanitation Foundation.
River O’Green Fest will begin at eleven in the morning. The mayor of Tampa, Jane Castor, will sound the horn to initiate the process of dyeing the Hillsborough River green.
The practice of dyeing a river green is said to have originated in Chicago. It began in 1962 when city workers who dealt with pollution control used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges. They realized that the green dye could be used in a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
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