Wednesday, April 23, 2008

St. George's Day, England (viewed from Thailand)

Today is St. George's Day in England, which (because St. George is the patron saint of England) is an annual day of English national celebration that has risen in popularity in recent years after decades of being somewhat ignored. See this article in today's Daily Telegraph newspaper regarding the growing interest in, and importance of, the day in England.

(Note: For those of you not entirely clear on the subject, the country of England is part of the island of Great Britain (Britain for short) which also consists of the countries of Wales and Scotland. Great Britain together with the country of Northern Ireland (which is geographically joined to, but politically completely separate from, the nation of the Republic of Ireland) forms the nation of the United Kingdom (U.K. for short). So, to be English is also to be British, along with the Welsh and Scottish peoples, and together with the people of Northern Ireland to be British is also to be a U.K. Citizen. I hope that clears all that up for you! :-)

Although I currently live in Thailand, it seems a good thing to me that England celebrates itself more these days - for far too long English people (myself included) have been rather reluctant to rejoice in our national identity. Since almost every other nation on earth seems to properly celebrate itself at least once per year, so should England, surely? After all, we have given the world so many modern-era benefits, such as the English language, parliamentary democracy (first established in 1707), the Industrial Revolution (which started in the late 18th century and which continues today as Industrialisation), Portland cement (which helps build the world we live in), modern railway systems, the electric motor and the jet engine to name some of the most important. Oh, and William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin - three of the most famous men in history, surely - were all English. :-)

I didn't realize until I carried out a search on the subject that other countries also have St. George as their patron saint and celebrate the day too, though sometimes on a different date than April 23rd. Amongst these are Bulgaria, Georgia (which makes sense!), Greece and Portugal. See the Wikipedia entry on Saint George here for more details.

Happy St. George's Day!

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