Meet the Indian Family Behind Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Since 2019, an emerald dye from Chemworld International has been a key part of one of the country’s most unique Irish traditions.

Natasha Noman

March 17, 2022

Meet the Indian Family Behind Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Each year as part of the St. Patrick's Day Parade celebration when the Chicago River turns an incredible shade of Irish green. The Chicago Journeymen Plumbers are responsible and it is a privately funded operation. (Yannick Tylle)

Every year on March 17, Chicago ushers in one of the most famous and beloved St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country. Its renown is partly due to the beautiful — if not slightly disorienting — bright, emerald green hue the Chicago River takes on for the holiday. Over 30 million people in the United States identify as being of Irish descent, but the largest number of people with Irish ancestry in any county live in Cook County, Illinois — which encompasses Chicago.

But many don’t know that the very Chicago tradition of dyeing the river green — with environmentally- and marine-friendly dye, of course — has continued, in part, thanks to an Indian family-run business.