Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced a bill on Friday to declare St. Patrick’s Day a federal holiday as Americans of Irish decent and some others throughout the country celebrate the day.
“St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the rich history and fighting spirit of the Irish people – including nearly 2 million in Pennsylvania – and the countless contributions that generations of Irish Americans have made to our nation,” Fitzpatrick said in a release.
“As a descendant of Irish immigrants and a friend of Ireland, I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to properly recognize St. Patrick’s Day as a federal holiday,” he continued.
Irish people have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday for more than a millennium as a Roman Catholic feast day for St. Patrick, according to The History Channel.
The day honors what is believed to be the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The History Channel reported that St. Patrick explained the Christian idea of the holy trinity of the father, son and holy spirit using the three leaves of a shamrock, the Irish clover.
The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world took place in the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine in present-day Florida in 1601. More than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades are held in the U.S. with the largest being in New York City and Boston.
If the legislation passes Congress and is signed into law, it would become the most recent new addition to the country’s list of federal holidays, following Juneteenth.
President Biden signed a bill to establish Juneteenth, celebrated June 19, as a federal holiday in 2021 to commemorate the emancipation of the last slaves in the country when Union forces arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865.
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