Talk with the Doc: March is Irish American Heritage Month

The U.S. Congress first named the month of March as Irish American Heritage Month in 1991 and the president issued a proclamation for this to be recognized in March of every year in the future. It is estimated that there are approximately 32 million USA residents who claim to have Irish ancestry and this represents nearly 10 percent of our total USA population. I am proud to have some Irish ancestry in that my Mother was 100 percent Irish. Therefore, my personal ancestry is 50 percent Irish. Her parents emigrated from Ireland to the USA and became farmers in Minnesota.

We also celebrate our St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th of every year. St. Patrick’s Day was originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick. The reason St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th is that this date is the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick on March 17, in the year 461. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for more than 1,000 years. St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers who served in the English military. This parade then became a very popular annual event, with President Truman attending this event in 1948.

Today, the New York parade is the world’s oldest civilian parade and the largest parade in the United States, with over 150,000 participants. Each year, more than a million people line the 1.5 mile parade route to watch the New York City parade. Many other USA cities, including Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and others also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with large parades. Many of these large city parades often have more than 10,000 participants.

As you know, green is the beautiful color associated with the country of Ireland. Further, Ireland is often referred to as “The Emerald Isle”. This is at least partially based on Ireland’s lush green countryside and expansive green pastureland. Ireland strongly associates with the color green to celebrate Ireland’s beautiful green landscape. Green certainly has become a strong and lasting symbol of Ireland. Of course, as we see every year, many people will be wearing green as they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Today, people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, not only in Ireland, but also throughout the world in many other countries. These countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Russia, and in many others. Further, very popular St. Patrick’s Day recipes include Irish bread and potatoes, corned beef and cabbage, and other very tasty Irish food dishes.

Let me close with some silly Irish humor for you to enjoy and share on St. Patrick’s Day.

– Ireland is famous for potatoes. The only time an Irish Potato is not Irish is when it’s a French Fry.

– I asked a leprechaun to loan me $5.00. He said he couldn’t because he was too short.

– What position did the leprechaun play on the Irish baseball team? Short-stop!

– I just saw a very tall laughing man wearing green. It was the Jolly Green Giant.

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Irish. Irish who? Irish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of the best-selling SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet book and his new Joke Book, entitled “Laughter Is Good Medicine”. Dr. Jim’s website is sosdietbook.com.


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