Op-Ed: April 23, is St George's Day in England but ask many English people when St George's Day is and they will reply something like "Dunno"; the wording depends where they hail from in England. Ask them what it is all about and the reply is liable to be something similar.
Sadly in the 21st Century the flag of St George has become synonymous with racial hate in England and groups like the EDL use it as a weapon of division. A planned EDL march for Blackpool St George's Day 2015 stalled but the group planned to flex their muscles in the seaside report anyways.
So all of this has left me wondering why the English, me included, do not celebrate St George's Day and all things English.
St George is the patron saint of England
Searching for the words of Land Of Hope And Glory, to express a point to someone, I came across the text below:
Land of Hope and Glory
Mother of the Free
How shall we extol thee
Who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider
Shall thy bounds be set
God, who made thee mighty
Make thee mightier yet...
God, who made thee mighty
Make thee mightier yet.
It was on a website that proclaimed: "They can stop us singing it at the Proms, but never in our hearts" - Now what's that all about?
It seems some deemed that song offensive and wanted it barred from the oh so English proms. For many English people, in our 21st Century multi-cultural UK, it feels as if England is losing its identity and our English Heritage. For the record I am not one of these people.
What has happened though has been political correctness gone mad.
In recent years we have read about:-
Here is my opinion, for what it's worth
Please remember that it is only an opinion and we are all entitled to politely express ourselves. After all we are English.
Like all countries England has plenty to be proud of, as well as much to be ashamed of, during its long history. That's life; we live and learn. The days of the British Empire and Commonwealth are far behind us and we are coming to terms with the fact that in reality we are a small country. This makes our impressive history and heritage all the more astounding though.
English people have, in the past, been loath to brag; in fact in the past reticence seemed to be treat as a virtue. In some ways we have gone from one extreme to the other. A large section of English people now like to be as loud as they please, no matter what the occasion.
However, genuine English Pride is still hard to find
Maybe England's continually dismal performances in the beautiful game of football, and its national sport cricket, have not helped. However, we seem to like to dwell on our negatives and gloss over our positives.
Our national anthem, flags and the like were adopted by football hooligans in the past; perhaps this is why some English people distance themselves from these things. Who knows? I know I do not.
A multi-cultural England should, and could, be a real positive but racism is far from dead in the UK.
Why is St George's Day in England not widely celebrated?
Some would have you believe that the multicultural nature of our society has led to a loss of English identity.
I wonder if it is just a country that, especially since the Second World War, has had to come to terms with many changes and is still floundering.
Just because we have many people of various ethnic origins in the UK does not mean that we have to lose our heritage or identity. It is difficult as we are such a small country but we should be able to embrace every person's individual heritage and allow celebrations for all.
On St George's Day 2015 the Independent reminds us "George was born in Syria to a Greek family. He served in the army of an Italian city-state and ultimately died living in Turkey. His parents, though Greek-speaking, were born in Cappadocia in central Turkey and Palestine respectively" making him a truly multi-cultural individual. He is also the patron saint of Bulgaria, Palestine, Ethiopia, Greece and Lithuania!
On St George's Day if you want to fly the flag, have a party or attend an event, go for it but remember to be respectful when, for example, an Indian person living in England wants to celebrate something which is special to them.
Too many English people would say that now this person is living in England they should give up their own national celebrations. In my opinion that's bunkum. Take Irish people around the world who still celebrate St Patrick's Day and are extremely proud of their mother land; English people living in Spain celebrate English festivals.
Finally, as a child in the fifties I have no real recollections of St George's Day. This means that our English apathy toward this special day is not new or racially motivated.
But in recent years though, in an attempt to please everyone, we have ended up pleasing no-one.
St George's Day in England is April 23. Check out the St George's Day website for information or to join the movement asking that this day be made a Bank Holiday.
To quote Winston Churchill:
There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England.
For me the conclusion is don't fear St Georges Day England but don't abuse it either - Happy St Georges' Day.
St George's Day: Six reasons why St George is the perfect symbol of multiculturalism