I find it odd that St George’s Day is not a national day in England, in most of the world we find various countries with national days that are invariably titled ‘Independence Day’, usually from one of the European powers.
The white Commonwealth has another tradition due to the fact that no one really knows when they became independent, Canada has Dominion day, a day four British colonies in North America came together to form a confederation that had responsible government, but was not in any way ‘independent’, it had no armed forces, except those of the British Empire and could at any moment see itself dissolved if the parliament in London so wished. It had it’s own army by the Boer War and was able to have a chair at the Versailles Conference, but it was the Westminster Statute, pushed by Canada and South Africa and supported by Eire that gave them equality within the Empire with the United Kingdom. But that ain’t the end of the story, It was only in 1982, with the repatriation of the British North America Act, that Canada became de jure, independent from Britain, and Margaret Thatcher’s government had to put aside time to pass this repatriation act, so when did Canada become independent? At Some point between 1867 and 1982!
Australia, New Zealand, Eire and Newfoundland all have similar trouble in pin pointing an Independence day as they don’t have one, Australia Day celebrates the landing of the First Fleet and the proclamation of British sovereignty over Australia, Waitangi Day celebrates the Treaty signed between the British Crown and the Maoris establishing British sovereignty over New Zealand, not exactly ‘independence’ days.
European nations have something special, due to the fact that there were no easily identifiable foundation days, or proclamations of sovereignty as in the Antipodes, or an independence day as in America or much of the third world, we have Christian feast days as our national days. In Ireland it is St Patrick’s Day, even though we have Easter for the Easter Rising and an official sovereignty day marking the foundation of the Irish Free State, or a day that marks the declaration of the republic, we don’t celebrate these, we celebrate a day that marks the baptism of Ireland, a day that marks our leaving behind the darkness of our pagan past and our embrace of Christ and his mercy.
In Scotland they have St Andrew, in Wales they have St David, in Italy each region has it’s patron saint, as is the case in Germany, in France there is St Dennis and St Martin, as well as the famous St Joan of Arc. In Poland, France, Spain and other nation, Mary the mother of Jesus has days devoted to her, in Spain St James is still a national symbol and his day celebrated, in all of Europe the feast days are marked, although many modern Europeans view these days as times of holidays(oddly the original meaning of the word ‘holiday’ came from holy day) and drinking to excess.
The one nation without any national day is England, although the great Christian saint of George is their focus, they do not mark his day, they don’t get drunk as the Irish do on St Patrick’s day, indeed most English are unaware that today is St George’s Day, there is no day off as in Ireland or Scotland for their patron saints, nothing nada! Why?
It is a great shame. England has no independence day as America does, it has no founding day as New Zealand or Australia do, it has not even got a confederation day as Canada does, even though there are many great events that could be marked, but the most obvious is St George’s day.
It seems one of the peculiarities of the English in not celebrating themselves, it is something that I believe is damaging them, they are being told they are unimportant day after day, year after year and at some point they begin to believe it. England and the English are probably the greatest race of people that there has ever been, the world was once in their grasp and instead of ruling the world in the fashion of the Roman emperors, they reluctantly took on possession of vast territories and gladly gave them up when presented with the chance, the English should be proud of themselves, their daring do, their gallantry, their decency and their sheer bloody cheek. But instead we have a nation, once the greatest, now cowed and made ignorant of their past, degraded and weakened, demoralised and wrecked.
St George’s day would be a good time for the English to awake!