What would make the English like St George's Day?

  • 23 April 2014
  • From the section England
Morris dancers in Leadenhall market
Image caption A group of morris dancers perform the traditional English folk routine

St Patrick's Day is firmly established in the English social calendar while St George's Day is frequently forgotten.

Although some celebrate 23 April each year, many English do not know when their patron saint's day is and others appear not to be bothered about it.

So what would encourage more English people to celebrate St George's Day?

Take a look at the suggestions below and send your ideas to england@bbc.co.uk

Make it a Bank Holiday

Image caption Could the fate of a St George's Day bank holiday lie with Scottish independence?

It has been called for over and over again but there is still no sign of the government giving way and making St George's Day a public holiday.

In 2007, Graham Smith, who launched the St George Unofficial Bank Holiday campaign the year before, was convinced it would be so within two or three years.

"I'm very disappointed," he said. "It is almost an anti-English sentiment within various governments. This is not aimed at one particular party, they just don't seem to want to grasp English nationalism, they are afraid of it for some reason.

"What we have realised is that England on its own will not get a bank holiday, we are the last in the queue, so it is once Scotland gets independence and they make St Andrew's Day a bank holiday and the Welsh make St David's Day a bank holiday, the pressure will be too much not to make St George's Day a bank holiday.

"So unfortunately the fate of a St George's Day bank holiday rests with the Scottish and the Welsh, when they make their saint's day a bank holiday, then we will get ours."

While Prime Minister David Cameron has acknowledged England's national day has been overlooked "for too long", a Downing Street spokesman said there were "no current plans" to make St George's Day a bank holiday.

A festival of Englishness

Image caption An English festival...not complete without a bit of mud

From Glastonbury to the Isle of Wight and Scarborough's Acoustic Gathering there has been a massive growth in the number and variety of music festivals.

Revellers love them - the tents, the music, the wellies, the fancy dress, the flags - all of which could easily be fine tuned into a celebration of Englishness.

We do not have to listen to the traditional folk music - although for those who want to, why not?

We could see a gathering of English bands - from rock to punk.

Do as others do...

Image caption St. George, or Sao Jorge, is also the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil

St George's Day may go almost unnoticed in England, but the dragon slayer is also the patron saint of many other countries, cities and regions - where traditions range from street parties and carnivals to the simple act of handing out red roses.

Perhaps the English would enjoy the day more if they held a Brazilian-style street party?

In Rio De Janeiro, the city's party-loving residents celebrate St George, known as Sao Jorge, by donning red and white flowers, holding street parties, processions, and mass candle-lit gatherings complete with songs, drums and fireworks.

Meanwhile in Catalonia, it is custom to exchange roses and books as a sign of respect for St George.

And in Greece, garlands are hung up around houses on most streets while "feasts for St George" are held in towns and cities all over the country.

Beer Festival

Image caption A day to celebrate?

Gallons of "the black stuff" is consumed around the world every year as people celebrate St Patrick's Day, yet despite England's many fine ales and great brewing tradition, there is no single equivalent.

Every year Germany hosts its successful Oktoberfest - a 16-day festival visited by millions - to celebrate Bavarian culture, with beer, traditional dress and fairgrounds. The English are known for their love of beer - is this the way to encourage a love of St George?

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has promoted English ales over many years and says more should be made of the English patron saint's day.

"There is no logical reason why it should not be celebrated in the same spirited way as St Patrick's Day," Neil Walker, a spokesman for Camra, said.

"Real ale is England's national drink and a fitting candidate to become the tipple associated with St George's Day.

"So this year, let's all raise a glass to St George with a pint of English real ale."

A national dish

Image caption Start the day with the traditional full English

For all those foodies out there, what better way to start the 23 April celebrations than with a full English breakfast?

This could be followed up with a Cornish pasty for lunch, a formal high tea in the afternoon and finishing off the day with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

Of course this can be interchanged with any number of favourite English dishes: a Devon cream tea, fish and chips, hog roast or a steak and kidney pie, to name a few more.

We have nothing to fear but our cholesterol.

Light it up

Image caption The Union Flag was projected onto Buckingham Palace for the Diamond Jubilee

In years gone by, Tintern Abbey, in Monmouthshire, has been lit up in red and green to celebrate St David's Day.

And in 2012 thousands of people turned up to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which included a light show projected on to Buckingham Palace.

So is it time to light up some of England's more well-known buildings? Big Ben, York Minster, the Liver building or Birmingham's Bull Ring could be lit up with St George's Flag as an honour for the nation's patron saint.

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