Why don't the British celebrate their national days?

O

Oscurito

Ah wudna have remembered, laddie - were it not for the wee email from a genealogy website telling me how I might trace my Scottish ancestors given that today is Saint Andrew's Day, Scotland's national day. Anyone attending Murrayfield can attest to the fact that Scots are capable of intense displays of patriotism. However, when it comes celebrating November 30th, the tartan and saltire are kept well under wraps.

Ditto the Welsh and English on March 1st and April 23rd respectively. Neither nation has anything close to the orgy of colour and bonhomie that we indulge in on Saint Patrick's Day. I remember hearing about one Irish pub owner in the south of England who tried to organise something around Saint George's Day - only to be met by a wall of apathy. His customers are absolutely capable of nationalistic expression - it just needs some football or rugby match to bring it out. However, these events tend to be male-dominated, and let's face it, not everyone is interested in sport.

Personally, I think that English nationalism in particular would benefit hugely from a national bonding fest once a year. Get out the Saint George's flag, Yorkshire pud and Lancashire hot pot and have a good old no-strings-attached knees up. Ow's abouh ih, chums?
 


silverharp

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Most British say that they aren't proud to be British but they are thankful :D

maybe they will introduce a Brexit day in the future if it worked out to be the right move?
 

Aristodemus

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I think this OP has been written by someone who hasn't been in England for a while. There is a gradual increase in English nationalism over the last couple of years and it could be argued that it actually did more to fuel Brexit than anything else. Just because this nationalism doesn't manifest itself in the celebration of a minor saint in the Christian faith does not mean it does not exist.
 

ergo2

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There have been some attempts in England to popularise St George's Day

They have a long way to go to equal the international recognition enjoyed by St Patrick's Day
 
O

Oscurito

I think this OP has been written by someone who hasn't been in England for a while. There is a gradual increase in English nationalism over the last couple of years and it could be argued that it actually did more to fuel Brexit than anything else. Just because this nationalism doesn't manifest itself in the celebration of a minor saint in the Christian faith does not mean it does not exist.
I was last really in England in 2007. (Transferring flights at Heathrow doesn't count.)

I'm not denying that English nationalism exists and I'm not denying that it has its outlets. I'm saying that it would be a good idea if it had an outlet in a positive expression of Englishness such as celebration of Saint George's Day.
 
O

Oscurito

Most British say that they aren't proud to be British but they are thankful :D

maybe they will introduce a Brexit day in the future if it worked out to be the right move?
That might cause some grumbling north of Hadrian's Wall.
 

between the bridges

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Saint Billy's day...

 

flavirostris

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English nationalism is taboo because they have a multicultural society. Indigenous nationalism has to be sacrificed in order for a multicultural society to work. The Scots get away with displays of nationalism because Scotland is not as multicultural.

We don't realise how lucky we are here being able to display tricolours and celebrating national Saint's days. English people doing the same would almost be accused of being BNP or EDL supprters.

I have seen Irish social justice warriors on twitter whingeing that display of the tricolour is 'not inclusive of immigrant communities' ( say that in your most lispy, grating social justice warrior voice to be fully triggered ).
 

blokesbloke

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I cannot comment so much on other areas of the UK but I would say it's a combination of the date of St. George's Day not being a Bank Holiday, it being in April so the weather is unreliable, and a stigma associating English nationalism and racism.

I have noticed a small uptick in people attempting to celebrate the day, and even the notoriously PC Birmingham City Council has had some events the last few times.

I don't think it'll ever be a big day, though. The English tend to express patriotism in other ways.

I try to mark it - I actually found St. George's Day cards a few years ago and sent a few.
 
Last edited:
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English nationalism is taboo because they have a multicultural society. Indigenous nationalism has to be sacrificed in order for a multicultural society to work. The Scots get away with displays of nationalism because Scotland is not as multicultural.

We don't realise how lucky we are here being able to display tricolours and celebrating national Saint's days. English people doing the same would almost be accused of being BNP or EDL supprters.

I have seen Irish social justice warriors on twitter whingeing that display of the tricolour is 'not inclusive of immigrant communities' ( say that in your most lispy, grating social justice warrior voice to be fully triggered ).
If multicultural were the reason then celebrations would have been routine before the advent of multiculturalism. They were not.
 
O

Oscurito

I cannot comment so much on other areas of the UK but I would say it's a combination of the date of St. George's Day not being a Bank Holiday, it being in April so the weather is unreliable, and a stigma associated English nationalism and racism.

I have noticed a small uptick in people attempting to celebrate the day, and even the notoriously PC Birmingham City Council has had some events the last few times.

I don't think it'll ever be a big day, though. The English tend to express patriotism in other ways.
England in late April has to be a little better than Ireland in mid-March. I recall watching parades whilst being assailed by horizontal sleet.
 

runwiththewind

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I think this OP has been written by someone who hasn't been in England for a while. There is a gradual increase in English nationalism over the last couple of years and it could be argued that it actually did more to fuel Brexit than anything else. Just because this nationalism doesn't manifest itself in the celebration of a minor saint in the Christian faith does not mean it does not exist.
St. George is also the patron saint of Malta, Gozo, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia and Portugal. He's pretty big in the Eastern Orthodox, Islam and Coptic churches too. He's also huge in Brazil, though not an official holiday there, you will see St. Georges's flags everywhere and the Brazialians celebrate like they celebrate everything with one big massive party.

He's perfect for multi culturalism.
 
O

Oscurito

English nationalism is taboo because they have a multicultural society. Indigenous nationalism has to be sacrificed in order for a multicultural society to work. The Scots get away with displays of nationalism because Scotland is not as multicultural.

We don't realise how lucky we are here being able to display tricolours and celebrating national Saint's days. English people doing the same would almost be accused of being BNP or EDL supprters.

I have seen Irish social justice warriors on twitter whingeing that display of the tricolour is 'not inclusive of immigrant communities' ( say that in your most lispy, grating social justice warrior voice to be fully triggered ).
I wonder how much of that has anything to do with the communities who would allegedly be offended. I suspect that some of it just comes from people with a particular agenda who present themselves as defenders of ethno-cultural minorities but whose antics actually incite dislike of them.
 

Caothaoir

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Presumably, in the case of celebrating patron saints' days, the reformation has a lot to do with it.
 

Equinox

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I cannot comment so much on other areas of the UK but I would say it's a combination of the date of St. George's Day not being a Bank Holiday, it being in April so the weather is unreliable, and a stigma associating English nationalism and racism.

I have noticed a small uptick in people attempting to celebrate the day, and even the notoriously PC Birmingham City Council has had some events the last few times.

I don't think it'll ever be a big day, though. The English tend to express patriotism in other ways.

I try to mark it - I actually found St. George's Day cards a few years ago and sent a few.
There's the occasional half hearted attempt to rekindle some national pride by a few that have belatedly realized that (as has happened here) the British national identity has been squandered, abolished in favor of conspicuous consumption which has become the new national identity.

I think they're on a hiding to nowhere with St. Georges day though, celebrating 'saints days' has a whiff of Catholicism about it and that has been deeply frowned upon and treated with suspicion since Henry dumped the Pope.
I just can't see saint worship gaining traction with the Protestant puritans or the whiny atheist brigade either who clamour ever more loudly, like the Dawkinsian Taliban that they are, to strip Western culture of all spirituality.
Saints in a post christian country need to look like Santa Claus (St. Nicholas), with the Christianity covered in layers of commercialism. Perhaps a Game of Thrones tie in might work for ol' George? That has dragons....everybody could run around brandishing plastic swords and beating up the Welsh?
 
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O

Oscurito

Presumably, in the case of celebrating patron saints' days, the reformation has a lot to do with it.
A very good point. If the Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas (the birth of Jesus), they'd surely frown on any celebration of a mere human saint.

There was an incident across the Atlantic in the mid-17th century in which an English Puritan cut the cross of Saint George from the flag of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It might have occurred thousands of miles away but the values that drove the action were firmly rooted in (maybe not so) Merry Old England.
 

RodShaft

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Ah wudna have remembered, laddie - were it not for the wee email from a genealogy website telling me how I might trace my Scottish ancestors given that today is Saint Andrew's Day, Scotland's national day. Anyone attending Murrayfield can attest to the fact that Scots are capable of intense displays of patriotism. However, when it comes celebrating November 30th, the tartan and saltire are kept well under wraps.

Ditto the Welsh and English on March 1st and April 23rd respectively. Neither nation has anything close to the orgy of colour and bonhomie that we indulge in on Saint Patrick's Day. I remember hearing about one Irish pub owner in the south of England who tried to organise something around Saint George's Day - only to be met by a wall of apathy. His customers are absolutely capable of nationalistic expression - it just needs some football or rugby match to bring it out. However, these events tend to be male-dominated, and let's face it, not everyone is interested in sport.

Personally, I think that English nationalism in particular would benefit hugely from a national bonding fest once a year. Get out the Saint George's flag, Yorkshire pud and Lancashire hot pot and have a good old no-strings-attached knees up. Ow's abouh ih, chums?
Hard to get excited about a Saint who died before your nation existed, was born the other side of the then known world, and may not even have known your dreary island even existed..
 


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