As usual yesterday, St George’s Day (23 April), saw a bit of chatter about how sad/bad/mad (political correctness for the use of) or indeed good it is that we don’t celebrate it which was odd because every year we do celebrate it with a plethora of articles etc whinging or cheering about how we don’t celebrate it. In a way I rather like that, it seems somehow English.
Now personally I’m all for having a bank holiday as
a)I think we need more public holidays, my understanding is that we have the least of all in all of Europe, and;
b) the 23rd of April is also, by tradition, Shakespeare’s birthday and the day of his death (there was a gap between the two) and this fits my secularist instincts.
Here’s a few clips to remind us why Shakespeare’s birth/deathday should be a national holiday:
I chose Mark Antony’s speech from Julius Caesar as we are in an election and Henry V’s speech as it does reference St Crispin and it might annoy the French.
Actually I think we should have a new patron saint. St Edmund, as in Bury St Edmunds, is sometimes mentioned in this context, though I would go for either the Venerable Bede or St Cuthbert, partly for reasons of regional pride, though St Cuthbert doesn’t come across as someone you’d like to have a drink with. Perhaps St Hilda then? Personally my favourite English saint is St Dunstan who was tempted by the devil in the form of a comely wench while he, St Dunstan, was working in a smithy’s forge. Noticing that goat’s hooves were peeking out from under said wench’s skirt, St Dunstan saw through the disguise and so grabbed the devil’s nose with some red hot tongs he had to hand. The devil ran off and cooled his nose in a nearby spring which tastes of brimstone to this day. Now there’s a saint I can do business with. Not sure what day is officially his. Just a sec…ah, May 19th (all hail Wikipedia).
But of course, the saint who really should be our patron saint is that old friend of me and mine, St Chad. So next year let’s all have a proper early spring holy day on the second of March, the day of St Chad.