Friday, April 23, 2010

St George's Day

I was asked on the Whitehaven News webcast today whether I thought that today, St George's Day should be a Bank Holiday.

I replied that I do, but replacing one of the existing bank holidays with little cultural or historical justification: I would like to see more celebration of our English identity but in the present economic climate we should be careful about awarding ourselves an increase in the number of holidays we take.

3 comments:

Tim said...

Why is Northern Ireland allowed 10 bank holidays a year whilst the rest of us have to make do with 8 ?

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't we celebrate an English Saint rather than St.George?

Chris Whiteside said...

Tim: good question

Anon: when I lived in another place, which is banned from being mentioned on this blog for the duration of the election but is named after the first Christian martyr in Britain (who was executed there), this point was frequently raised.

It was suggested on more than one occasion that a British person who definately lived in history and was our first martyr would be a more appropriate Patron Saint for England than George of Lydda, a Roman soldier born in what is now Israel who never came within a thousand miles of England.

However, the veneration of St George in this country is a tradition which is now about a thousand years old, and I don't see us changing it.