Today it’s St. Patrick’s Day, or St. Paddy’s Day, that the O'bamas are doing a jig for and going green. Here are seven (lucky) ways the first family is celebrating the Irish holiday and how they have in the past, including old presidential traditions and new ones they have introduced.
Host the Irish Prime Minister
It’s a tradition that the two leaders spend this holiday together, and for the fifth time since elected in 2011, Irish PM Enda Kenny will travel to the White House on St. Patrick’s Day. Another tradition that dates back to Truman’s presidency is the Shamrock Ceremony: The Irish prime minister gives the U.S. president a bowl of shamrocks as a gift.
Dye the White House Fountain Green
The Obamas decided to add their own touch to the White House St. Paddy’s Day traditions. Inspired by Obama’s state where he served as senator, Illinois, Michelle Obama requested for the first time in 2009 the White House fountain be dyed green similar to Chicago’s dying its river green.
The fountain on the South Lawn of the White House was dyed green at 5 a.m. this morning.
Have a Beer
It’s unknown whether Obama will enjoy a pint of Ireland’s most famous stout, but in 2012, the president, who has Irish roots on his mother’s side, enjoyed a Guinness at a Washington pub called the Dubliner surrounded by a lively crowd.
The White House is also known to brew its own beer, serving the honey ale to guests on St. Patrick’s Day in 2011.
Traditional Irish food
To go with the beer, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without some traditional Irish food. This year's menu of what the White House is serving will be released later today.
One year the White House went as far as serving green champagne to its guests at the 2009 St. Patrick’s Day reception.
Every year people around the globe celebrate St. Patrick’s Day decked out in green, including the Obamas. The president sports a green tie every year as part of a political tradition for male politicians.
President O'bama is ready for St. Patrick's Day. pic.twitter.com/ngf50W4Ntu— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 17, 2015
And Michelle Obama has gone all out in past years on St. Patrick’s Day. Whether it’s her green boots or green dresses or her green eye shadow and earrings, the first lady always lives up to her stature as a fashion icon.
Turn the East Room Green
The White House St. Patrick’s Day reception takes place at the East Room every year. On top of green attires, shamrocks and green champagnes, the room is immersed in a soft green light as the final touch.
Listen to Irish Music
The festivities of the White House St. Patrick’s reception is often accompanied by live Irish music performances. There have been a series of musicians and singers in the past years, including The MollyHawks, a Washington D.C., based duo who performed at the White House in 2012 and Irish singer Glen Hansard, who performed the year before.
The morning of St. Patrick's Day in 2009, Chicago’s Shannon Rovers, a Irish bagpipes group, played the bagpipes in front of the White House before their performance at the St. Patrick’s reception later that night. This was the first time the group has been invited to play at the White House.