Today was St George’s Day – the national day of England.
What’s that, you say? You had no idea? Sadly, I fear that may have been the reaction of many people today.
Living in Australia for so long, Australia Day was always a major landmark on the annual calendar, a public holiday and a cause for ceremonies and celebrations (as well as the odd bit of controversy and conversation around the future of the nation).
Think of other countries and many of them also have a day that is uniquely their own – Bastille Day, Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, St Patrick’s Day, St Andrew’s Day…the list goes on.
These days all give the residents of that particular country an annual opportunity to show their nationalistic pride. And boy do they take advantage of that opportunity.
So why not the English?
We saw last summer with the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics that we Brits can celebrate and wave flags with the best of them.
Now I know there is a distinction between being British and being English, but I doubt that the Scots, Welsh and Irish would be too upset if we showed a little more interest in our very own dragon slayer on one day each year.
But whilst there were a few isolated articles in the newspapers today and a few relevant tweets, overall, the silence was deafening.
I guess it could be down to apathy or modesty, but I fear it may be to avoid upsetting the politically correct brigade – those who think we shouldn’t wish each other ‘Merry Christmas’, or that teachers shouldn’t use red ink.
For those killjoys, the whole idea of having a day of unashamed English national pride might be just a bit too much, even if it is just for one day.
(There was even one group of people on Twitter describing the day as racist for heaven’s sake).
I hope I’m wrong, but sometimes I do wonder. Maybe next year will be different and we’ll have a national holiday, complete with rousing choruses of Jerusalem and plentiful bunting, of course.
But for now, let me be potentially the first person to proudly wish you a very happy St George’s Day.