Every March in Illinois, a stretch of the Chicago River -- between Columbus Drive and Wabash Avenue -- is dyed green by St. Patrick's Day Parade Organizers. It's fun. It's festive. People come from all over the world to see the normally murky blue waters turn… well, murky green. It's a spectacle. According to the Chicago Tribune, the recipe for the dye has been a well-guarded secret for years. "It's our secret, and we intend to keep it that way," parade committee Chairman James Coyne said.
We may never know how they do it, in Chicago.
But all across the country on St. Patrick's Day, bar owners, party planners, and revelers with some extra time will all be taking part in a dyeing ritual of their own. Drinking shamrock-colored beer has become as synonymous with St. Patrick's Day as pinching people who don't wear green, or calling your ex in the back of the pub on speakerphone after seven pints. And while the Irish have a tradition of dropping clovers in drinks for good luck (known as "downing the shamrock"), turning your brew bright green -- much like celebrating St. Patrick's Day, in general -- is a purely American move.