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Why is St George’s Day Celebration in England so Muted?

Posted on 30th March 2016
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St George and the English - Why Won't the English Celebrate?

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According to historian Diarmaid Macculloch quoted in the Huffington Post the apathy of the English towards celebrating St George's Day may be as a consequence of the reformation. "The English, being Protestants for nearly five centuries, have never had much time for saints' days – same with the Scots," Macculloch said. "Neither really need their patron saint to celebrate their nationhood."
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But others draw a distinction between St George and other patron saints of the British Isles. "Both St Andrew's and St Patrick's Day celebrations reflect the assertion of an identity distinct from the dominant English identity," says Robert Ford, a lecturer in politics at the University of Manchester. "It is not clear whom the English define themselves against, or in comparison to."
Research carried out in 2013 by the think tank British Future and perhaps reflecting a modern twist on today’s society, suggested that many English people are "nervous" about celebrating St George's Day. The poll, published by the Daily Telegraph, found that many English people are concerned that the English national symbols like the St George's Cross flag may nowadays be interpreted as being associated with being racist.

Why is St George's Day not a bank holiday?

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Many people ask why every country except England gets a bank holiday on their Saint's Day. According to The Independent, the tradition of St George's Day has been in decline since the union of Scotland and England at the end of the 18th century. But support for reinstating the day as a bank holiday has been growing in recent years and has been brought up in the House of Commons every year since 2006.
Still, introducing another public holiday to the calendar would come with a financial cost for the UK. The Centre for Economic and Business Research reported in 2012 that each bank holiday costs Britain £2.4bn in lost work.
Despite not being a bank holiday, celebrations will be held this weekend around the country, including parades, concerts and many St George costume parties, staged by family and friends, where the crusader knight outfit is always popular.
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