St George’s Day

Happy St George’s Day.

Several countries celebrate St George’s day, most though not all on 23 April (some celebrate it on 6 May).  Some hold feasts to mark the occasion.  Although it is our National Day, the practice of treating it as a holiday and holding celebrations had largely died out by the end of the 18th Century.  Other countries tend to outshine us in celebrating their National Day.

Is there a case for making St George’s Day a national holiday?  Should we celebrate it in some other way?

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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9 Responses to St George’s Day

  1. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,

    I think to fully appreciate St. George (when one is starting over from scratch on any cultural event one should assume much has been lost and secure the foundations anew) one ought to have at least the possibility that the sorts of folks who are modern British knights could discuss dragons sincerely. I hope this link will occasion a small part of such discussion: http://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/dragons/

    I think that we forget that many genre of story have existed in the world which we seldom create today. I think England celbrating St. George’s Day more would be all to the good. I do not mean to make light of English festival cultue but here are phrases seldom heard in the world:
    “Those English know how to party!”
    “The wildly celbratory English culture.”
    “She was so English, frivolity and celebration poured out of her.”

    Happy St. George’s Day!

  2. Lord Norton says:

    franksummers3ba: Regrettalby the phrase ‘Those English know how to party!’ does sometimes get used abroad, not to the benefit of this country’s reputation.

  3. franksummers3ba says:

    Your Lordship,
    I have not heard it. The remarks of Hamlet about the Danish in Shakespeare have not been applied to England in my presence. It occurs to me that the sentence structure using “to party” as an inifnitive may be what you are playing with.

    I have known some busy English pubs abroad and wild living English too. But Latins and Vikings and even Germans get all the press as celebrators in my experience. Personally I think the idea of a Boxing Day on the day after the largest holiday chills and sobers many foreigners in a way that few English can imagine.

    Henry VIII, Beau Brummel, the Prince Regent and and Sir Richard Branson have never been used as national types in this regard in my travels. Perhaps we travel in different circles of course.

    • Lord Norton says:

      frsnksummers3ba: The phrase, or something similar, is used in respect of English people who party abroad and have a reputation for doing it to excess.

      • The Duke of Waltham says:

        In this corner of Europe we are all too aware of the “partying” reputation of some English youth, which is regrettably and entirely predictably applied to half the nation. I believe the rest are the stuck-up snobs and the gays, but, to be honest, I tend to avoid discussing the English with my compatriots. Nothing good ever comes out of it.

    • franksummers3ba says:

      DoW,
      I have noticed the numerous Georges of Greek descent. Perhaps it would be interesting to see if there were more of them after the poetic Lord Byron. You certainly do present an appealing description of the English here. I sort of wonder if you have clicked on the Craig Beaumont link on the welcoming page of this site. Don’t get me wrong Vas, I have insulted more people than you can possibly imagine. However, I am a quasi-recluse with a webwork of scars and really quite distinct from the vibe you give out.
      Any way, Happy St, George’s day to the Hellenes everywhere. You may not have been around my posts enough to have heard of my own attachment to the Greeks and Greece – by George!

      • The Duke of Waltham says:

        Well, our current Prime Minister and Finance Minister are both Georges, and they feature in the news quite often these days. It’s certainly a break from an older pattern: our two previous PMs were Costas Simitis and Costas Karamanlis; indeed, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the former was in power and the latter was Leader of the Opposition, our President was another Costas, and many jokes were made about this trio—especially on their name day of 21 May.

        Lord Byron? We mostly know him as “Lord Byron” (Λόρδος Βύρωνας, Lordos Vyronas), and although I cannot say I know how well-known his Christian name was at the time, I can testify that it is pretty much unknown now (even among those who actually know who he is, in a general population as frustratingly ignorant in matters of history as that of most countries). However, I know at least one person whose first name is Byron, probably in the poet’s honour.

        I checked the link after you mentioned it, and although I found some interesting videos, I was not as fascinated with the site as I’d have to be to follow the blog. Indeed, I’m not sure I’d ever want to follow anyone’s life; the only blogs to which I have subscribed, other than this one and Lords of the Blog (and In Purdah) are Governing Principles and a number of BBC blogs. I simply don’t have the time (or constancy) for things falling outside my too-wide yet eclectic range of interests.

        One last thing… If you value your life, and the lives of those close to you—
        (draws sword)
        …don’t you ever, ever, call me “Vas” again. You have been warned.

        (Hmm, I wonder when this thing was last polished…)

  4. Carl.H says:

    Happy Saint Georges one and all.

    Definitely a resurgence in Englishness of late but it doesn`t quite compare to St.Patricks day, which to be honest is just another excuse to get drunk.

    A St. Georges day procession in major cities would be good or Carnivals.

  5. The Duke of Waltham says:

    In Greece this is a semi-moveable feast: I am not sure how it goes exactly, but if Easter falls near or after 23 April, then we celebrate it on Easter Monday. (Clearly not the case this year.) That is not to say that we celebrate it in any grand way, but “George” is the most common male name in the country and the day is therefore the name day of a big chunk of the population.

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