… of course you knew. In the Western Calendar it is April 23rd 2008.
It’s also the (reputed) birthday of Wm. Shakespeare.
AND St. George’s Day.
St. George, a dubious Saint indeed, is the “Patron Saint” of England, and many other places.
His “cross” is the flag of England (not the same as the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, which includes the English cross of St. George)
When I was a kid, the flag of St. George might be flown from the towers of Church of England Parishes on April 23rd.
These days it has become a symbol of a resurgent English nationalism.
And the flag was hoisted over 10 Downing Street this year.
I am not a great fan of flags, nor of various nationalisms.
But I was happy to be in Greece on St. George’s Day in 1999.
The tour group which I’d joined was at Delphi, that wondrous and mysterious place which had me longing for the old gods (much more exciting than the Christian
Our tour guide mentioned that a Village named St. George was nearby, and would we care to go there for the Festival.
Of course we cared. And it was fun.
The young men and women paraded themselves in beautiful Greek national dress.
The middle aged men and women busied themselves with crafts and by spit-roasting whole lambs (complete with heads).
They brought trays carrying the innards - livers, kidneys etc, (the first part of the animal to cook) and I sampled them with great delight.
The old women sat in their widow’s weeds and, toothless (for the most part), and clearly gossiping, surveyed the scene.
The old men were already wonderfully drunk. They “danced” in the middle of the street, but also took time out to shoot rifles into the air.
This was a St. George’s Day celebration, much to be preferred my me, than Evensong in a chilly English Cathedral.