Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which began as a religious feast day remembering Ireland’s patron saint in the 17th century, and has since evolved into a variety of festivals all around the world celebrating Irish culture. St. Patrick Day celebrations began here in the United States in the late 18th century. I can remember as a child trying to find something “green” to wear to school and cutting out shamrocks from green construction paper in the classroom. It is a wonderful celebration because it affirms America as a land of immigrants, a place where cultures blend together into what I call the American Dream. Every year since 1991, the month of March has been proclaimed Irish-American Heritage Month by the US Congress or the President. Now why can’t we do the same for Iranian-Americans, Afghan-Americans, Indian-Americans, Greek-Americans (and so many others)?
St. Patrick’s Day is not a designated national holiday, but it is a Massachusetts State holiday, because St. Patrick’s Day and “Evacuation Day” happen to occur on the same date. Evacuation Day remembers not St. Patrick, but the first major American military victory in the Revolutionary War. British troops evacuated Boston on March 17, 1776, and never returned. It was a great psychological victory for the colonists and since 1901 has been recognized as a Massachusetts holiday.
Isn’t it strange to you that as a nation we are celebrating our Irish-American culture and at the same time attempting to “evacuate” other cultures and religious persuasions?