|You are in: Talking Point|
Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Should we mark St George's Day?
England does not celebrate its patron saint's feast day with the same spirit as its neighbours toast St Patrick, St David and St Andrew.
A survey this month found few English people knew St George's Day was on 23 April and many thought St George was their local pub.
Critics say the red cross of St George is offensive for some people. It was carried in the Crusades against Islam - and also in battles with the Scots.
Does England need a patron saint in this multi-cultural age? Should 23 April be celebrated by the English in the same way as the saints in Scotland, Wales and Ireland are remembered?
This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
As he was Turkish let's all have a kebab to celebrate.
Who says St George's Day isn't being marked? The BBC has certainly gone to a huge effort on TV, radio and online to remind us that nobody is celebrating it, dwarfing coverage of the other UK national days!
It's about time we provided this country with a single image to get behind. Perhaps if we provided the ethnic communities with a day where they could celebrate THEIR Englishness in their own way, as well as entering into a celebration with the white majority, we might see some racial harmony for a change.
Perhaps this boil needs lancing rather than ignoring.
Jennifer Ethington, US
It's difficult to think of a more appropriate figure to celebrate than St George. He was foreign, brave, chivalrous and honourable. The English are a mix of historic foreign influences and continue to be so. It is right that we should get together to recognise this. Compared to most counries we are extremely tolerant and liberal. The vast majority of the English (and other Brits) are tolerant and inclusive. Let's celebrate together... all of us!
If we do live in a multicultural society where people have the right to express their cultural and ethnic identity, why is it so taboo to be celebrating English culture? The PC brigade have a hard time differentiating between football thugs and the rest of England. I'll give you a hint, the thugs tend to have shaved hair, tattoos and broken bottles in their hands, they too carry the cross of St George because they see it, quite rightly, as their National flag. What they do whilst under the banner of the flag has nothing to do with English culture/identity and more to do with narrow minded bigotry.
I think that it is nice for the English to celebrate a day named in the honour of a bloke from Turkey. It would show what a nice bunch of open-minded, tolerant, friendly, people they are....
Only the ignorant in a forgetful age could sincerely assert that there has never been a true English identity. England, a curious union of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman nations, created the world's first parliamentary system; English common law is the basis of legal philosophy throughout the Western world; the English system of liberty, shaped by rule of law and property rights, has become the ideal of modern Western civilisation; England invented party politics; the English language, the simplest and most flexible of the world's tongues, is capable more than any other great language of profound expression in literature, philosophy, and rhetoric.
Clive, Australia (ex-England)
Recently a pub in Colchester was banned from opening late to celebrate St George's day but a few yards down the road an Irish bar was granted extra hours for its national day St Patrick's. Why? The council said it didn't recognise the day as special! It has really come to a sorry state when every other country can celebrate their national day in England except the English! England is going to the dogs, combine this with the attempted destruction of our world cup bid and I feel ashamed to be in this country.
We're told that we shouldn't celebrate our Englishness because we are now a multicultural society and everyone from an ethnic minority will be offended, apparently. I don't know any of my friends from ethnic minorities who are offended by celebrating Englishness. It's not about being against anyone. And with ethnic minorities making up barely six per cent of the population, just how multicultural are we anyway?
Britain should be very slow in doing away with its traditions. Ever consider the fact that it could well be this very British traditions that attracted many to migrate to the UK.
Chris, London, England
America celebrates their 4 July just as other countries celebrate their independence. Why should we not be proud to celebrate St George's? This should have nothing to do with religion. Just proud to be English or British - however you wish to call yourself!
The lack of a cultural identity is the root of knee-jerk nationalism which leads to men like Le Pen gaining political ground. Flag-waving does not cause hatred, hatred stems from the lack of a flag to wave. For so long the English have had an imperial comfort-blanket, and have never needed to banner-wave in the same way that other parts of the kingdom have. Now that Europe threatens our governance, however, and the Empire had breathed its last, English cultural identity needs to be reasserted.
Peter S, GB
I don't know why people keep referring to the way in which people in Scotland celebrate St Andrews Day. I live in Edinburgh, the capital, and cannot remember any festivals to mark the occasion. It's just like another day. It should be made a national holiday and be celebrated like St Patrick's Day in Ireland.
Why do we insist on making huge problems out of nothing in this country? If everyone relaxed and stopped looking for arguments and being so petty I'm certain we could get on just fine!
Our church celebrated St George's Day with a curry night - England's national food! All had a good time.
Have you noticed that the media bring up and create the tension in these kind of debates? The general people don't seem to care until you tell them it's a problem.
I believe people do not think of themselves as English, because we do not have a parliament or regional assemblies, and thus are controlled by a British parliament. This is quite wrong. Also the Scots have their national anthem, the Welsh do too, but at a football match the English football team have to mumble the British national anthem - why don't we celebrate St George's day by being rewarded with regional assemblies, which will be autonomous, and a national anthem?
Alan D, England/Britain
I think as a British person St George's Day should have more pomp to it. I believe that the other people from other countries must respect that this is our country and this is our saint . All I can say is God save the Queen .
I think one reason that we in England find it hard to get excited about St George's day is that his connection with our country is minimal. For St David and St Patrick their connection is clear: even for St Andrew there is a belief that he visited Scotland. Originally, St Edward the Confessor was regarded as England's patron saint. Personally, I'd find it easier to celebrate a saint who had some connection with the country.
I am not a great admirer of the United States, but you cannot argue against their sense of patriotism. Some comments have argued that we are a multi-cultural society, and therefore should not celebrate individual saints' days. America perhaps has the widest ethnic variety in the world, but they still celebrate their independence regardless every year.
I have lived in the US for five years. Living in a foreign country makes one acutely aware of one's own culture. I used to think that the English didn't really have a culture but the truth was I was just too near to it to see it. Over here, nobody has heard of St. George's day, whilst St. Patrick's Day is a national event even in areas with little Irish heritage. If the English don't start recognising and celebrating their culture, we will simply fade away.
To me the main point at issue is that we should have as our patron a saint who is at least British and whom we can be certain actually existed. My nomination is Cuthbert, but I suppose that he was partly Scottish and partly a northerner. Hilda might be better, she was 100% English!
Give us a couple of decades more to forget our amazingly successful and profitable empire, and get over our navel-gazing hangover, and I'm sure we'll be fine. But we were masters of the universe too recently to like our current status as dowdy hangers-on in the American camp.
From Breakfast News this morning, radio at lunchtime and the net tonight all I am hearing is the expression "After all, the Scots celebrate St Andrew's Day". As a Scot who has lived all her life in Scotland I have never, and neither have any of my friends, celebrated St Andrew's Day in any shape or form! I suspect this is true of 99% of the Scottish population, the same 99% who wouldn't be in the least offended if the English felt the need to 'celebrate' St George's Day!
In out town of Leyland, Preston nearly 700 members of the Scout association gathered to parade the Cross of St George around the town take part in a church service and then carry the flags of St George, the union and the scout flags in a parade. I have heard not a mention of this in any paper or on TV. Two or three kids smashing windows yes but 700 to 800 hundred coming together to meet and have a church service not a thing. I suppose it is not 'bad' news so no one is interested.
Andre, Derby, UK
I think the reason we're less inclined to celebrate our national day in the way in which the Irish, Welsh and Scots celebrate theirs is that we have not been oppressed in the way that they all were (mostly by us!). We retain this extraordinarily ill-founded air of superiority and complacency, and I find myself actively envying the ability of our neighbours to take a wholesome, non-jingoistic pride in their roots.
Add to this superiority the hijacking of our national flag (and the Union flag for that matter) by 'In-ger-land'-chanting football morons and a variety of loony right wing political interests and the reason for the non-event becomes even clearer.
It's time these PC people were consigned to the dark insignificant corner they deserve, and were roundly ignored by everyone else. I'm English, and will celebrate what I want, and still be friends with anyone I want, regardless of nationality or religion.
Alister McClure, GB (Scots living in England)
It is important to be proud of our heritage. It should not be used to exclude others but to integrate a multi-cultural society that would then be free to celebrate relevant festival days with other cultures. I am also passionate about St George's day because it is my daughter's birthday. (I got the dragon!)
St George's day...we should be proud...so why don't we
shout it loud?
While my English compatriots at home are discussing the pros and cons of a national saint's day for England, are they even vaguely aware that 9 May is Europe Day, on which the EU celebrates its diversity and strength (also referred to humorously as St Schuman's Day, after Robert Schuman, founding father of the EU)?
Why is it that the Scottish, the Welsh and the Irish are allowed to mark their national days with celebrations and festivals, yet when we want to do it, we get hammered by PC groups telling us that "Oh, you can't do that" and "Oh, that would cause such distress to our ethnic communities." Why? Why does everyone want to stand in our way? St George is OUR patron saint, we have a RIGHT to celebrate him.
Leon, UK I do believe you've just answered your own question. In one sentence you've described ethnic communities, many of whom were born and bred in England and would probably like to be accepted as being English too, but probably aren't, or at the very least feel like they aren't accepted. Then in the next sentence you talk about it being "OUR" flag. Are you implying that the people who don't have white skin, or Christian are "them"? i.e. not part of England? This is the kind of problem which needs to be fixed in England. Not just from white English people, but ethnic communities as well.
Let's be proud to be English. It must be a good country otherwise why would so many people want to come and live here?
We should start taking the day off to show how proud we are, maybe after a few years the government may realise how we English feel and make it an English bank holiday.
Even though I'm Welsh, I think it is awful how St Patrick's Day and other national holidays are treated with more respect than St George's Day. It should really be a bank holiday and more emphasis should be given by the media and news. It is sad that the reputation of a few have spoilt the occasion - being English, or even British, now immediately conjures up images of hooligans, Brits abroad and a kind of mini-US, but then, what should it make us think of? Spirit of Dunkirk, I suppose. England could really do with a new identity.
The problem is complex. It is true that a lot of the English flags are seen only when they are being hosed down by foreign riot police. However, I refuse to stop wearing clothes bearing the English flag simply because someone else for better or worse finds it offensive. I have no issues with other nationals wearing their symbols. I watched with interest the debate in the Scottish papers recently about whether a Scot should support England in the World Cup. If the positions were reversed there would be no debate, we would support them.
I am English and very proud to be so. So why do we have to mouth along to God Save the Queen? Surely this is the British national anthem, even though the fourth verse is highly insulting to the Scots. We should use Jerusalem or have a new anthem to represent a new England.
For what do we need a patron saint? This is not a Christian country, but a country with some Christians, many other religions and a lot of non religious people. Yes let's celebrate England, our history and heritage; let's even have a day, but if it has a saint attached, you can count me out. One final thought - if you must have a saint for England, shouldn't they at least come from somewhere near England, or have actually visited the country?
Shouldn't we all be proud of our country, and proud to live in it! It doesn't matter what colour you are either. If celebrating St George's day helps us all to be a closer, happier people, that has to be a good thing. People object to the cross of St George, or the Union Flag because it's racist or because it was used in battles fought long ago. It's best to leave those thoughts back then, and concentrate on the here and now. Being PC over this doesn't do anyone any favours. Let's all enjoy the day, we have enough problems as it is without adding this to it.
Helen Watson, Norfolk (Yorkshire Born)
The red rose is for Lancashire and England so, as for the red cross on a white field, you should simply disregard the ignorant peasants who have tried to take over a previously honourable symbol for their own petty gains.
Happy St George's Day everyone!
I am proud to be English and think St George's day should be celebrated.
The reason that St George's day is not celebrated as St Patrick's day may be because saints are selected by the Roman Catholic Church. As this was one of the world's first countries to distance itself from Rome, it would also discourage deities chosen by the R.C. Church.
The English don't celebrate St George's day not because we are afraid of having "guilt" to other nations feelings printed on our foreheads but because we do not have a thick black stout manufacturer or a whiskey manufacturer marketing the day for us. Neither do we feel that another country is dominating us and feel the need to be fiercely protective of our heritage and language like the Welsh. Celebrate the day for England and St George!
Garry Illingworth, England
The radio station I usually listen to were having a special St George's Day breakfast show this morning, explaining who St George was and celebrating the day in general. What's unusual about that? Well, the fact that the highly popular radio station in question is beamed across central Scotland and aimed primarily at the younger end of the adult scale. I couldn't help but think that they were celebrating St George's day more than some parts of England were.
I have to admit, as a Scotsman, to find it very strange why the English are debating and arguing over their identity in this way. I'm a very proud Scot, and I celebrate St Andrew's Day and all things Scottish, but I'm also British and like the majority of my country in no way want to see the UK broken up. My Scottish and British identity are clear are defined and live comfortably side by side. For heaven's sake, find your identity and celebrate it, but that doesn't mean dropping being British. And once you do, perhaps the rest of us will join you in celebrating it.
The big problem is that, where anyone can be British, being English seems to demand entry into one of several exclusive clubs, from the moronic football thug layer through to the highly exclusive sporting fields of Eton. England itself is not an homogenous unit, the cultural differences between Geordies, Yorkshire folk, Midlanders and the amorphous "South" militates against this. England may be a country, it is not a nation.
I am Chinese, with a Malaysian mother and a Singaporean father who have lived in England for over 30 years. I was born and brought up in England, but have been living in Scotland for nearly 10 years. I am British and proud to be!
Yes, of course we should be patriotic and celebrate St George's day. We have given in for far to long to the PC brigade - we must not upset this type of person or that type of person, but it does not seem to matter that they upset us. Let's be proud to be English and show the rest of the UK they don't have a divine right to patriotism.
The planet we live in is a tiny speck in a vast unending universe. It's home to us all whichever part we live on. We are all 'Worldians' and we have a far greater history than any individual country within it. Why is there no world flag?
Doreen Walls asks "Why is there no world flag?" Well, even if we wanted one do you think the decision-makers could agree on a design? The St George flag is the only symbol left for England since the red rose was shanghaied by some cheapskate political party that subsequently did not allow the English to state their nationality on the census form!
Only 1% of the world's population is lucky enough to be English. To celebrate our good fortune too openly would be ill-mannered.
Let the others have their national days - all the flag waving and marching they do smacks more of an inferiority complex than anything else.
England has a lot to be proud of about its past, its time we flew the St George with pride and not take any notice of the politically correct characters that unfortunately blight our country. All other countries celebrate their national days with a glowing pride, if we dare to fly the St George we get called racists. So come on people! Fly the flag and let's show the world were still proud of England and its history.
Although I do not know who St George is, if he did things good for his people, he should be remembered and his day should be celebrated.
However, when some people use it as a tool to push racism, or raise malicious words to other people such as Muslim, they have to be condemned by the public.
History always has the bright side and dark side, what we should do is to highlight the bright side and do not make plunder anymore.
Excuse me? St George, right? I can understand the Scots point of view but hundreds of years of English history is offensive to Arabs in England? I'd rather a 'thank you' for providing the safety from their home countries myself. Arabs have carried the crescent star into battle since the eighth century...twice into Europe against Christians. Do we complain about Middle Eastern flags?
Of course the English should celebrate their own symbols of nationalism. The sooner the United Kingdom is split up, the better.
It's our wedding anniversary so I know how we will celebrate 23 April. Out of interest, the county where I currently live (Prince George's) was formed on 23 April 1696 and has a flag composed of St George's cross with the county seal in one quadrant. Home from home....
Even though I'm an Aussie I celebrate St George's Day every year. I gather my family and friends around and we laugh, sing and make merry. It's a great day; a happy day; a day to celebrate; a day to have off work. It's my birthday!!
As a Brit abroad, I look at superannuated, treasonous twits like this chap Hutton and laugh when I'm not filled with pity. Jerks like him are paid by the British taxpayer to educate, not undermine, the country. As far as I'm concerned, I find the Muslim scimitar would be equally offensive to the descendants of those people murdered by the Islamic hordes from Israel to Spain over the last few hundred years. Hutton, crawl back to your self-indulgent little burrow and keep your disingenuous ideas to yourself.
Andy, London, UK
Why would St George's Day offend ethnic minorities in Britain and England? Surely they came here to be English and to be part of England. Also, we should not feel guilty for what Englishmen have done hundreds of years ago.
The lobbying force of business and economists have already robbed us of enough of our holidays. The country is a group of people, not a company, so let's take a day of our lives back from the profit machine.
I am tired of being told that I must be ashamed of being English, and that customs handed down over countless generations are xenophobic/racist and so forth. If we cannot have a patron saint then let's have an England Day, (or is that, too, racist?)
It's not just the Welsh and the Scots that celebrate their national day. Independence Day and Bastille Day are all widely accepted. I am currently living in Sydney and Australia day is a day of great public pride with some spectacular public events. Shame on those denouncing St George's Day because it may offend. It's our nation and we should celebrate that fact.
I think everyone should be proud of their heritage, no matter what country, and celebrate it appropriately. As a Scot I don't find the St George's cross offensive, what I do find irritating is people supporting England and using the Union flag.
I think we should avoid a celebration. Not because I'm anti-patriotic, but precisely because I am. I've always thought it a sign of weak, chippy self-regard that so much is made of national saint days in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Let's not follow their example.
I am English but have lived in Wales for the past 30 years. I feel its all a question of strength of identity. The Welsh are Welsh before any other tag and as such have no problem with their identity. Being English, am I British first or English first or both at the same time? St George gets lost in all of this because, I suggest, the British factor confuses the English identity. Yes, please let us celebrate St George's Day, but in so doing dump the British tag (after all the original Britons were largely Celts), lay the Union Jack to rest and compose a new national anthem to celebrate England and its people.
Offensive to Arabs and Muslims? On the contrary, St George is one of a few Christian saints honoured by Muslims in several Arab countries and he had nothing to do with the crusades which happened 900 years after his death.
Forget the myths and the dragons and the pub - the real saint is listed in the Church of England's calendar on 23 April and many churches will be holding services in his memory. If you want to celebrate St George's Day, try going to church!
I am proficient in five European languages and can state with some authority that we English have one invaluable asset above all others - our language. We should use St George's Day to actively promote and celebrate our language, one which has proved to be an essential vehicle for English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, American and Commonwealth literati over the centuries. This is something we can be really proud of: why not flaunt it?
How dare anybody tell me as an Englishman that I cannot celebrate St Georg's Day or take pride in my national flag. The Union flag is the flag of the Union not England. The fact that the English flag was carried victorious and in defeat is a total irrelevance and nothing to do with racism or religious bigotry. Those were different times when you were either the victors or the vanquished.
Most definitely we should celebrate St George's Day, why should every other nation in the world be allowed, encouraged even, to celebrate their national identity except for the English? Political correctness has reached an extreme level, to the extent of becoming offensive in itself. We now live in a small world in multi-national societies who each need to retain their identity within those communities. We also need to accept the differing religions, beliefs and heritage of everyone living with us. Whoever we are and wherever we come from, we should be encouraged to celebrate our national identity. Long live St George (and St Patrick, St David and St Andrew etc. etc.).
Simple answer yes! After all the world celebrates St. Patrick's day and I'm sure people take a day off on this day! Bring on the red roses!
We hear much in the media about Britain being a multicultural society these days. To me this means that we have people from culturally distinct backgrounds on the one hand celebrating their own festivals and upholding their own traditions and on the other hand participating in the national culture and national events across Britain. One of these cultures is English, and I believe it is important that this culture celebrate its own festivals, one of which is St George's Day.
The question I believe is symptomatic of an age of political correctness gone wrong. Yeah of course we should all celebrate our independent national days, but we must also celebrate our united nation. I see myself as an Englander, a Briton, and a European.
As a Welshman I say of course
the English should celebrate their
patron saint. I enjoy celebrating
St David's Day and feel a sense
of pride at being Welsh. I fail to
see why anyone should object
to the English doing exactly the
same for St George's Day. But
whether Welsh or English we
should all be proud of being British.
Don't let the PC brigade dilute our
heritage we all have much to be
Ian C., UK
Whether or not the whole day is based on mythology or not it is still the one and only day in the year when the many great things about England could be celebrated. We have great respect to the Irish and their patriotism on St Patrick's day but as soon as someone suggests we do the same we are told our flag might offend some people and our saint is a fraud. Why can't people just go out and celebrate their nationality on the 23rd without the so called critics telling us we might be offending a tiny minority? I'm sure the people who want to celebrate on the 23rd are simply proud of their country who haven't considered being patriotic to be the crime some people say it is.
Instead of a parade I think there should be an old English fair in Hyde Park.
We should be proud to wave the flag and celebrate St George's day. England has a great deal in its heritage to be proud of and we should not be afraid to celebrate our past.
Let's also get this flag thing right. The vast majority of flag-waving football supporters are perfectly law abiding individuals who are proud to follow England. The reason the flag has become associated with thugs is because of the media.
So St George is mythical, the flag is that of the Pope and the English are descended from fifth century German invaders. But what difference does all that make. St Andrew was Jewish and St Patrick was Welsh, but do the Scots and Irish care? We need a day of national identity that reclaims our flags from skinheads and football hooligans.
I don't think we should celebrate that day. Scots are sympathetic people and should not be dishonoured by celebrating ancient offensives against them.
Phillip Holley, UK
At present the expression of Englishness is largely the preserve of thugs and extremists because there are no opportunities for ordinary English people to express a shared identity. England is denied a parliament and a national anthem. In addition the media, particularly the BBC, is steadfastly British (not English) for fear of offending England's Celtic neighbours. St George's Day should be a national holiday allowing the people of England to celebrate a unique culture and all that is best in English life.
Yes! We should celebrate St George's Day. Forget about where the flag originates from and its previous use. We are all too afraid to say to the rest of the world we are English and proud of it. Having lived and worked in the Middle East, Africa and Asia I think that it is true to say that most other countries show far more interest in their country and the achievements of their countrymen (and women). Like many other countries we have a chequered history but we have achieved a lot and have a lot to be proud of! All too often we are inclined to dwell on the negative points. So for at least one day in the year let's celebrate all the good things for a change.
There is no question that it should be celebrated. It has nothing to do with religion or some saint, but about identity. History is filled with legends and from these people learn lessons and try to follow examples of behaviour and courage. This is what is represented by the legend of St George and the dragon. But more than that, it is an enduring link between generations. We have contributed more to the history of the world over the last millennium probably more than any other nations. When I see the cross of St George flying, I am proud of being English. Time to reclaim our past and our future.
23 April should be a bank holiday for the English, just as the Welsh, Scots and Irish should have a holiday for their patron saints. We could celebrate our contributions to literature, music, sport and art. Then toast St George with a pint of English ale before enjoying a curry - to reflect the fact that England is a land with many settlers, whether their ancestors landed 20, 200 or 2000 years ago.
With England and the rest of the UK being multi-racial, the do-gooders are saying it is "not right". I am English, but live in Wales. Try telling the Welsh that 1 March is not important and see what reply you get. As for someone saying St George is not English, St. David wasn't Welsh. So what? It is to do with a national identity. It should be celebrated and celebrated with pride. Be proud to say you're English, I certainly am!
In regards to Steve Byrne's comment, "St David isn't Welsh"...St David is the only British saint to be born in the country he is representing. Sorry you are wrong, but St David is Welsh.
I feel I must correct Steve Byrne on his comment that St David is not Welsh. I believe, St David is the only British saint who is representing a British country of his own nationality's David or Dewi Sant, was a saint of the Celtic Church. He was the son of Sandde, Prince of Powys.
I am always amazed to see so many English people out celebrating St Patrick's day. The only time you see any nationalism in this country is in the death of a monarch, football or racism and the less said about the latter scum the better. Assert your nationalism in a positive way and be proud of it, it's not something to be arrogant about just enjoy it.
England is losing it's identity and we should celebrate our saint's day in the same way as the rest of the UK does. After all, if we can have a St Patrick's day parade in London (and I wonder if you could do a St George's day parade in Dublin?) and the other countries national flags flying here without anyone taking offence, why can't we make the effort? The far right have hijacked our national pride - it's time we got it back!
I remember a St George's Day parade in the Scouts every year - and that was 20 years ago. It still happens. Look on the roofs of churches in April and you'll see the flag flying. St George's Day is not forgotten!
Why not?! I'll tell you why not. Because it will be seen as nationalistic in the most repugnant and xenophobic way. Although the Welsh, Scots and Irish national days reflect nothing but good spirit, the English celebration will end up as a drunken free for all resulting in violence and the destruction of property. It would around where I live anyway. I would not like to be an Asian on St George's day if it ever were taken more seriously.
I'm tired of feeling like I ought to apologise for being white, Church of England and English. I'm proud of my heritage, proud of my country and proud of my God. I appreciate that we are a multi-cultural society, and have no problem with that - in fact I welcome it. However, I do take exception when I'm made to feel like less of a person for wanting to celebrate my country's long history and heritage.
I say yes to celebrating a national 'England' day, and if that offends anyone who is not English, then tough! So far this year I've seen celebrations for St Patrick's Day and Australia Day, so what's wrong with celebrating the country we live in?
For hundreds of years the St George Cross has been used to define England - it's an integral part of the Union Jack. Let's reclaim the cross from the racist thugs and football hooligans, and start to show some REAL pride in our beautiful country.
Yes, I don't care where the origins of the flag comes from, be it war with the Scots or the crusades....it is our history, no one else is denied the right to celebrate their patron saint, why should I feel guilty....all this on the day when a racist gets votes in France, we should be careful people or the English public will go the same way...
It seems to me that we can do better than to celebrate a dull myth. We should rally round a decent hero like Nelson, Wellington or Montgomery.
Just a comment on the statement at the top of this page:
"Does England need a patron saint in this multi-cultural age?" Whatever people think the answer is, wasn't St George born in Turkey? Therefore, is he not already a multicultural symbol? On a final note, I personally think that St George's day should be celebrated... the William Shakespeare suggestion was good too.
It just so happens that 23 April is also the birthday of the world's greatest ever playwright, William Shakespeare. Couldn't we celebrate this great Englishman instead? After all the Scots have their Burns night, celebrating a person who, let's face it, is not a patch on our Will!
Ryan Sykes, England
Of course! We should have St George's Day parades which ends with St George slaying the dragon. It should be a day off for all England. It's also about time we claim back our flag from the extremists who made it their own. Slowly the flag has become less seen as extreme due to sporting events, but it is time to finally take it back. Let us fly our flag from every flag pole. It's about time England within the United Kingdom reasserted herself, and maybe we can have an English parliament too. Hopefully it would lead to a fully federal United Kingdom with the kind of power separation between the central government and the home countries as in the US.
For starters 'Saint' George was never a saint. Secondly he never came anywhere near England, and thirdly to rub the salt in, the red cross was the battle flag of the Pope! The crusades were holy wars, hence they carried the Pope's flag. At that time no country had a flag anyway, they carried the standard of the monarch, or locally of their liege lord. So start looking for a genuine English Saint.
Yes, we should. Half of the problem is that the only time you see the St George Cross nowadays is when it is being waved by beer-bellied skinheads at football matches. If the whole country celebrates then it might just show the flag, and the English, in a more positive light and take away some of the negative connotations associated with it.
Chris L, I find it bizarre that you believe the only time you find the cross of St George being waved is by beer bellied skinheads at football matches. I have plenty of hair, drink wine, am of athletic build, watch a lot of football and am as guilty as anyone of waving our precious flag. Most of the decent people I see waving the flag are not as you describe either. I think your piece is a triumph of perception over reality.
In an era when the national identities of Scotland and Wales are being re-affirmed through devolution what is being done for England? I believe the celebration of St George's Day (and of being English) would be a great boost for our sadly lacking sense of national pride.
Chris B, England
Do I get a day off? I'm in favour!
Of course St. George's Day should be celebrated!
It seems as though only the English are frightened of expressing their feelings of patriotism. The argument that the displaying of the St. George cross will offend some people is poppycock! We live in England, we're proud to be English and anyone living in England who resents us celebrating our Englishness in any way we see fit can leave our English borders as soon as they like!
We English have done many things in the past, some great and others shameful. But we are not alone in such history. Ours is the language of the web, possibly the future. We should celebrate our day. For such a small country we've done bloody well!
English, the language of the web Roy? Well, for now but by 2007, Chinese would overtake English as the number one language on the web.
Grace Pickering, UK
I think it would be wonderful if we celebrated St George's Day as something everyone in England could be proud of. Not because our country is better than anyone else's, but because, regardless of our many diverse backgrounds, it's ours.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Other Talking Points:
Links to more Talking Point stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy