Businesses benefit greatly from consumer holidays – Christmas, Valentine’s Day…St. Patrick’s Day?
The Irish holiday is not the first one many consider as a money-maker, but celebrations over the holiday weekend are projected to turn business ledgers as green as the food coloring in pints served around the country. The National Retail Federation expects spending for St. Patrick’s Day (including the weekend as well as today) to reach nearly five billion dollars.
St. Patrick’s Day spending takes a number of forms, from patronage at Irish pubs and restaurants to purchasing holiday novelty items or other green apparel to avoid excessive pinching. In addition, many major cities around the country hold St. Patrick’s Day parades to celebrate their residents’ Irish heritage through music and dance, including Cleveland, New York City, and Boston (which is, as always, closed today for the holiday).
Joe’s Deli in Cleveland, for example, ordered and prepared more than 8,000 pounds of corned beef to cater to crowds throughout the weekend. The city of Chicago is no slouch, either, having ordered 40 pounds of green dye to turn the Chicago River green.
Per-person spending over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend averages around $35, including clothing, food and drinks. While the average is lower than for other “consumer” holidays, the communal nature of St. Patrick’s Day suggests that far more people participate in this holiday than in some others. Today, everyone is a little Irish.
Funnily enough, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is unique to the United States. It is thought to be the effort of Irish immigrants in the 19th century to retain and celebrate their heritage, which is especially fitting in the modern day – more than 34 million Americans claim Irish ancestry, versus the approximately five million people who live in Ireland today.
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!