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Marketplace Morning Report

Let’s do the numbers: St. Patrick’s Day edition

Danielle Chiriguayo Mar 15, 2018
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A water taxi navigates the Chicago River shortly after it was dyed green in celebration of St. Patrick's Day on March 11, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Saturday this year, so go on that pub crawl since, generally speaking, you’ll have all of Sunday for recovery, right?

Maybe with some Pedialyte?

Initially marketed to parents of young children, the folks behind Pedialyte have altered their approach in recent years, shifting toward an entirely new demographic: hungover adults.

You can find the company’s hashtag #TeamPedialyte across multiple social media platforms, along with a series of care packages for their biggest fans — the most recent being a St. Patrick’s Day themed box named the “Petey O’Lytie.” Among the free swag is, of course, a box of ready-to-use Pedialyte for all their hangover woes after a wild night on the town.

But believe it or not, St. Patrick’s Day didn’t start out as a holiday chock full of merry drinking at the local pub. The holiday is actually dedicated to St. Patrick of Roman Britain, who was brought to Ireland as a slave and is credited with introducing Christianity to the region. The holiday became official in 1903 and around the same time, the country passed a law that closed bars on March 17 because the Catholic country felt a night of drinking and debauchery was “too sinful.” From 1903 until 1961, when the law was repealed, bars in Ireland were closed to the public.

Drunken nights or not, in honor of St. Patrick and his order, let’s do the numbers.

  • 34.7 million Americans claim to have Irish ancestry, which is seven times more than the population of Ireland.
  • 60 percent of Americans plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — whether that is by making a special dinner, wearing green or heading to a local watering hole.
  • Speaking of wearing green, 83 percent of Americans plan on wearing an article of green clothing. Don’t forget yours, or run the risk of a leprechaun sneaking up and pinching you when you least expect it.
  • 2018’s festivities are expected to bring in $5.9 billion in spending worldwide, an all-time record for Irish holiday.
  • 1962 marked the first year Chicago decided to dye its river green. The tradition requires adding a secret, orange-colored — yes, orange — powder to the river, and it takes about 45 minutes for the river to completely turn green.
  • In honor of things-that-maybe-shouldn’t-be-green, the annually released Shamrock Shake returned to your local McDonald’s back in February, but consider this: Before 1973, the shakes were alleged to contain lemon-lime sherbet.
  • And St. Paddy’s Day wouldn’t be St. Paddy’s Day without a proper pint or three. According to WalletHub, people will consume about 13 million pints of Guinness worldwide this Saturday. That’s 819 percent more Guinness than people usually consume.

 

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