Happy St George’s Day 2014
According to the think tank British Future English people are “too nervous” to celebrate St George’s day.
Really! What a load of old horse manure. Wonder how many people they asked, and where?
The English can be the most jingoistic of nations when they want to be. Maybe if they redid this poll during the World Cup they might get a different reaction. Researchers and pollsters only get the results they want to get. Statistics and damn statistics.
The study showed that most people could remember the national day of the USA and Ireland over St George’s Day, England’s national day. Well of course they would, England doesn’t celebrate its national day in the same manner. It’s not even a public holiday, despite the fact that St. George has been the patron saint of England since the 15th century.
British Future, a body specifying in identity and integration which carried out the study, says the results show that many English people are too “nervous” to celebrate St George’s Day. Many people are worried that national symbols like the St George’s Cross flag may be viewed as racist, and that celebration of the national saint’s day could upset ethnic minority groups. What is racist, I ask you, in having a day to show your love for one’s country?
So Thisdrinkinglife have decided to do a write up on St George’s Day as we strongly think that English people should have this day as a national holiday and a day to fall in love with their country again. Sure crass overt nationalism, like the muppet’s in the EDL and BNP, do take the fun out of celebrating English culture, so let’s ignore them. But I would recommend a good English breakfast to start off the day, listening to Madness (insert your fav great British band from a list of hundreds) on a loop, have a few real English ales, go to a football game (Skrill conference south have a few games on), have a gamble on a few nags in the National Hunt, and don’t forget to wear your red rose, and have your flag of a St George’s cross: all these activities might awaken something inside you.
St George was also known for Charity, Courage and Chivalry. Perhaps bring your partner out for a nice meal (Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding?), donate to the Help For Heroes charity, and do not be afraid to shout out “Yes, I am English and proud”, but in a nice way least you get arrested!
One could also attend a public St. George’s Day celebration. Unfortunately the massive parade in West Bromwich was yesterday, but In Wolverhampton, the city’s mayor Councillor is holding a food-themed celebration on April 23 to raise cash for charities. He will be hosting a patriotic event in the Mayoral Suite to celebrate all things English. But you could try and see what, if anything, is happening in your local area. There must be something!
15,000 attended the event in West Bromwich which goes to show that there is definitely an appetite for a St George’s day civic event if done correctly. The WB parade has been going for 17 years and is funded privately from donations from the community. With no help from the local council!
Must also remember that the 23rd April is William Shakespeare’s birthday. In his play Henry V, Shakespeare famously summons the Saint.
(Act III, Scene I): Prior to the battle of Agincourt:
“I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'”
Of utmost important, contact your MP to make (next) St. George’s Day a national holiday and ask why England’s national day is not a bank holiday.
But anyway let’s have a look at the history behind St George’s Day
Who was the real St. George? And why on the 23rd of April is he celebrated as the patron saint of England?
St George, born in and around the year 280 in what is now Turkey, was a brave Roman soldier who rose quickly through the ranks of the army, eventually becoming a personal sentinel to the Emperor Diocletian. He protested against the Romans’ torture of Christians, was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303, and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel. The anniversary of his death is seen as England’s national day.
The popularity of St George in England comes from the time of the early Crusades when it is said that the Normans saw him in a vision and were victorious. Richard the Lionheart and his knights brought the colours, imagery, and tales of St George with them from the land of the Crusades back to England.
England isn’t the only country that celebrates Saint George’s Day. Countries that celebrate St George’s Day include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Malta, and Serbia. Cities include Genoa in Italy, Beirut in Lebanon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca in Spain, and many others.
Why the dragon?
One of the best-known stories about Saint George focuses mainly on the legend of Saint George on a horse as a knight carrying a shield or banner with a red cross, slaying a dragon to save a princess.
According to legend, the only well in the town of Silene was guarded by a dragon. To get water, the citizens of the town had to offer a human sacrifice every day to the dragon. On the day that St George was visiting, a princess was to be sacrificed. George took on the dragon, killing it, saving the princess and gave the people of Silene unlimited access to water. The residents of the small town, showing immense gratitude, immediately converted to Christianity.
You can believe in dragons all you want, but to this day St George is known throughout the world as the dragon-slaying patron saint of England.
Why the flag and the St George cross?
The most widely recognized symbol of St George’s Day is his red and white cross, often displayed as a flag. It is the flag of England, and part of the British flag. Its origins in English folklore are from the time of the Crusades. St George’s emblem was adopted by English knights who used St George’s cross as part of their uniform, during the crusades in the 1100s and 1200s. The Knights considered the colours very lucky. Richard the Lion Heart brought the emblem to England in the 12th century. It has been the official flag of England for centuries. Go to any major sporting occasion and you will see England fans proudly wave the flag of St George as they cheer on their country. It is also has a prominent place on the arms of the City of London and the flags of the city of Barcelona, Spain, and Genoa in Italy.
No Parades and celebration?
From the 15th century, St George’s Day used to be a national holiday in England, and was celebrated as widely as Christmas. The tradition of celebration St George’s day had waned by the end of the 18th century after the union of England and Scotland. In recent years the popularity of St. George’s Day appears to be increasing gradually. Organisations such as English Heritage and the Royal Society of Saint have been encouraging celebrations. Since elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson continually encourages the celebration of St. George’s Day. And every year now there is a celebration in Trafalgar square and within other areas of London.
To further celebrate St George’s Day please take time to read our piece on that great Englishman, Winston Churchill