Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Ireland has been celebrating the Feast of St. Patrick since the early 1600s. The celebration made its way over the ocean with Irish immigrants, who began to mark it with festivals and parades starting all the way back in 1737. That’s decades before the Thirteen Colonies became the United States of America.
Even though it is older than the Unites States, St. Patrick ’s has never been an official holiday. But its popularity has been growing nonstop for over 275 years, and it now stands as the most beloved and celebrated non-holiday of them all.
Last year, Americans spend $4.6 billion on St. Patrick ’s, and all signs point to this year’s going even higher! The bar tabs alone will rack up to over $250 million in this country. Worldwide, there will be over 7 billion people enjoying a drink, which translates into a bar tab so large it would take NASA to calculate it. Every day is a good day to be Irish, but today is the day everyone gets to be Irish.
But what about the next day? What sort of repercussions are caused by astronomical bar bills?
The Cost of the Celebration
Over 133 million Americans plan to salute “The Apostle of Ireland” today. And depending one when you are reading this, they might have started already!
Between the wearing of the green (over 80% of celebrants will wear St. Patrick ’s themed or colored clothes and accessories) and the tipping of the brew (over 30% of all Americans will visit a restaurant or bar today), it’s no surprise that this St. Patricks’ Day is estimated to bring in over $4.8 billion in revenue.
That breaks down to a cost of $35.75 for each person celebrating.
But going to a bar isn’t the only way to enjoy the day. In fact, it isn’t even the most popular. Almost one third of all Americans will enjoy a holiday-themed evening meal, and another 20% will be attending private holiday parties.
And that’s all well and good, but what about the other price to pay? Those billions of dollars that are being spent on decorations, corned beef, green hair ties, and taxi rides don’t include what some people call St. Patrick’s Wrath – the hangover.
The Celebration’s True Cost
All that partying, celebrating, and carousing has to come to an end. And the final price will be paid on Tuesday, the day after, when all those pints of Guinness Stout and Irish Car Bombs will come home to roost.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not keep track of employee sick days, so there aren’t any concrete numbers for the American workforce, but there are still some strong indicators.
The phrase “lost productivity” doesn’t just mean people using a sick day to nurse their hangover, it also includes those poor souls that drag themselves to work and don’t do anything. A study done in the United Kingdom found that St. Patrick Day cost the workforce over $500 million in lost productivity. That’s just the UK! Worldwide, it’s safe to ballpark that number as in the billions.
In the states, an independent research firm conducted a survey and determined that the day after St. Patrick ’s Day would be the second most popular sick day of the year. It came in second only to the opening days of March Madness, which are estimated to cost employers some $134 million in lost productivity.
Once you factor in the cost of dry cleaning and headache medicine, the price goes even higher!