The Alabama House this week approved House Resolution 20, which was sponsored by State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R – Indian Springs) and officially recognizes Saint Patrick’s Day and the continuing contributions of Irish-Americans throughout the state.
“Because so many Alabamians have Irish ancestry within their family tree, it is right and proper for the Legislature to recognize the history of Saint Patrick’s Day and the culture that accompanies it,” Mooney said. “From education to agriculture to art to government and every other facet of our lives, Alabamians of Irish heritage throughout history have made our state a better place to live, and this resolution recognizes their contributions.”
The resolution noted that Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and is credited with introducing Christianity to that island nation along with literacy and learning.
The first celebration recognizing Saint Patrick, according to the resolution, occurred in the Spanish colony of Florida in 1600 when cannons were fired in his honor with a parade following the next year.
Though it began as a celebration among those of the Catholic faith, St. Patrick’s Day is now celebrated by people of all denominations in countries across the globe.
And while many Irish immigrated to the British colonies of North America and made their homes in the Northeast and Appalachia, Mooney’s resolution states that organized U.S. celebrations of Saint Patrick spread with those who emigrated here to escape the potato famine of the mid-19th Century.
Roughly 44 million Americans with Irish ancestry reside in the United States today.
HR20 ends by resolving that “in honor of the valuable contributions of Irish- American citizens and the rich Irish culture that has wound its way into the great melting pot of America, we recognize Saint Patrick’s Day and encourage all to celebrate the holiday.”