15 St. Patrick’s Day facts that might surprise you

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All decked out for the holiday. Mary Altaffer/AP

On St. Patrick’s Day, the whole world gets to be Irish.

Financial website WalletHub put together an infographic that highlights some of the most interesting facts about how Americans spend St. Paddy’s Day.

For instance, did you know that St. Patrick’s Day is the third most popular drinking day in America? Or that cabbage shipments increase 70% in the week leading up to the big day? Keep reading for more fun facts about the holiday.


Chicago dumps 50 pounds of green dye into the river every St. Patrick’s Day.

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It looks radioactive. REUTERS/John Gress

Don’t worry, it’s just vegetable dye.


Over half of Americans planned to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year — 57% to be exact.

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Parade goers. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The population of Irish Americans is seven times the population of Ireland.

Due to the coronavirus, parades across the country are being temporarily postponed.


And 79% of those celebrating plan to rock some green.

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All green everything. Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Even though St. Patrick’s traditional colour is blue.


Wallethub estimates that $US6.16 billion will be spent in the name of the Emerald Isle this year.

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The crowd outside an Irish pub. Wikimedia Commons

Prices may be different now in light of cancellations and changes due to the coronavirus.


To put that in perspective, the average person spends $US40 during their celebrations.

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That can’t be cheap. Dennis Crowley/flickr

That includes buying green accessories for the perfect leprechaun-inspired outfit.


That’s a lot of Guinness — 13 million pints to be exact.

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Even Obama enjoys a pint. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Guinness is served 819% more often on St. Patrick’s Day than any other day of the year.


All that Guinness adds up. St. Patrick’s Day is the fourth most popular drinking day in America.

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Green beer. JOHN MCCONNICO / AP

It’s only behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and the Fourth of July.


But be careful to keep your alcohol consumption in check. 60 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on March 17, 2016.

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Shots all around. Flickr via lendog64

It’s such a problem that Uber has stepped up to try and discourage people from getting behind the wheel by providing promo codes.


That’s approximately one fatal crash every 36 minutes.

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Stick to walking. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

It’s a better idea to stay on the footpath.


And 75% of those fatal car crashes involved someone who had at least twice the legal limit in their blood system.

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The NYPD gets in the spirit. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Seriously, just don’t drink and drive. Police are everywhere.


Besides drinking, Irish food also plays a part in the festivities. Cabbage shipments increase 70% in the week leading up to the big day.

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Cabbage is a traditional Irish food. Kacper Pempel/Reuters

In New Orleans, the St. Patrick’s Day parade substitutes cabbage for beads.


Over 30% of Americans celebrate by preparing a traditional Irish meal.

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Corned beef and cabbage stew. Tony Gutierrez/AP

Besides cabbage and corned beef, people also bake Irish soda bread and Shepherd’s pie.


Irish-Americans are all over the country. There are 193 cities in America with an Irish population of 10% or more.

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Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Irish people are all around you.


And there are 16 cities named Dublin across the country.

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The Dublin Public Library in California. Wikimedia Commons

But none do St. Patrick’s Day like the original.


Americans have been celebrating this day for 281 years — the first St. Paddy’s Day parade was in 1737, in Boston, MA.

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The Boston parade today. Scott Eisen/Getty Images

The Boston parade wasn’t just the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US – it was the first one in the entire world. Ireland didn’t join the fun until years later.