Saturday, 23 April 2011

St. Georges Day

When I was travelling in America you couldn't even drive a few blocks without seeing an American flag. My favourite thing to spot on the way out of Evansville was this fantastic car dealership: I think it had something like 26 American flags flying? On one memorable car game we played 'Spot the American Flag' where whoever spotted them first got to punch someone: like "the Yellow Car game" or "Punch Buggy"... we had to give it up because it was getting to be painful!

In England, most of the time, it's rare to see flags flying and when they do fly it's generally the 'Union Flag' that you'll see, not the cross of our patron saint, St. George. It's a difficult position we find ourselves in: flanked by countries with holidays on their patron saint days and national flags they fly with pride, whilst being completely unsure if we're even meant to have the cross flag anymore! (There was a pretty memorable story in 2006 when a pub owner decided to show St. George fighting the dragon from the Welsh flag as part of her St Georges Day celebrations and was subsequently arrested for it, oops!) You will see the Union flag occassionally (like on the front of Harlaxton!) but not too often: we're just not big flag-flyers in general.

Today is St. Georges Day, which was a national feasting and celebration day until the 18th century. It's also apparently both the birth- and death day of William Shakespeare, poor man! In recent years there's been a gradual increase in celebration of St Georges day in this country, and hopefully the increase will continue so we can enjoy a patriotic day on par with St Patricks day, Burns Night and St Davids day. Today you'll see plenty of flags flying and especially pubs decked out to mark the occassion. Let's celebrate: we're British and we're English too!

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