President Obama celebrated St. Patrick's Day three days late this year, and on Thursday evening he will celebrate Greek Independence Day three days early. Newly returned from a two-day tour of the Wild West to discuss his energy policy, the President will host a reception in the East Room to mark the holiday, welcoming hundreds of guests at 6:55 PM. This year's closed-press event is the 26th celebration at the White House. Above: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis of the Greek Orthodox Church has joined President Obama for the last three years.
A national holiday in Greece, March 25th commemorates the nation's declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821, after being occupied for 400 years. It also marks the Feast of the Annunciation in the Greek Orthodox Church. Greek Americans will be celebrating in communities across the US this weekend. The Archbishop is a member of the President's White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
At last year's party, held on March 25th, the President spoke to more than 200 guests about the origins of the American Democratic system in ancient Greece. In 2010, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his wife, Ada were the guests of honor, and Iron Chef America champ Cat Cora was the guest chef for the White House reception. The President's remarks at the 2011 reception:
*Photo by Pete Souza/White House, taken during last year's event, in the Green Room