Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Just a little Irish trivia to help you celebrate. Irish is the second most claimed ancestry in the U.S. (German being the first), according to the U. S. Census Bureau, Thirty-four million Americans claim Irish ancestry, almost nine times the population of Ireland.

Many of those, and others who wish they were Irish, will celebrate today.

In Massachusetts, nearly one in four residents claims some Irish ancestry. Census data show that Americans who claim Irish ancestry average more formal education and higher incomes and are more likely to be homeowners than the at-large population.

The day commemorates St. Patrick, believed to have died on March 17, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. In the U. S., March is Irish-American Heritage Month, first proclaimed in 1995 by Congress. Each year, the U.S. president also issues an Irish-American Heritage Month proclamation. Although not an "official" holiday, in the
U. S. the day is celebrated as something of a festival. You wonder at its mystique -- people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick's Day, as far away as Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Russia. In Ireland, it is a national holiday and traditionally a religious observance.

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