|Irish Cultural Center Phoenix, AZ|
The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire especially shamrocks, and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on fasting and drinking, which is often proscribed during the rest of the season. Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat.
Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century.He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, in hopes of making a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention.
The Charitable Irish Society of Boston organised the first observance of St. Patrick's Day in the Thirteen Colonies. The society's purpose in gathering was simply to honour its homeland, and although they continued to meet annually to coordinate charitable works for the Irish community in Boston, they did not meet on the 17th of March again until 1794.
New York's first Saint Patrick's Day observance was similar in nature to that of Boston's. It was held on 17 March 1762 in the home of John Marshall, and over the next few years informal gatherings by Irish immigrants were the norm. The first recorded parade in New York was by Irish soldiers in the British Army in 1766. In 1780, General George Washington, who commanded soldiers of Irish descent in the Continental Army, allowed his troops a holiday on 17 March “as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence.
In every year since 1991, March has been proclaimed Irish-American Heritage Month by the US Congress or President due to the date of St. Patrick's Day.
Irish American statistics for Arizona: US Census Irish American population: 524,306, Percentage of total population: 10.2% Maricopa County: Irish 358,520
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.