Thursday, 23 April 2009

St Georges Day etc......

Today is St Georges Day, and St George is the patron Saint of England. It is slowly becoming acceptable to celebrate this day again, usually by flying the flag of St George (a red cross on a white ground) or by wearing a red rose in your lapel.
In the past while it was fine for Scots to celebrate St Andrews Day, the Welsh St David’s Day and the Irish St Patrick’s day, there was something vaguely unwholesome about the English celebrating their day, in large part due to the British National Party using the flag as their symbol (their policies include opposing mass immigration and membership of the EEC )
In the last few years English people have quietly rebelled against this and today we see more and more of the symbol.

St George himself was a Turk who defended Christianity against the Romans and died for his beliefs. The dragon is said to represent the devil.
In the 12th century the emblem of St George was adopted by Richard the Lion Heart while on Crusade after there was said to be a vision to his followers the night before a battle which ended in victory.
In 1415 the council of Oxford replaced our previous patron Saint, Edward the Confessor with St George. April 23rd was made a national feast day

For the occasion of St Georges Day the Mayor of London has written about English-ness and asked what our greatest contribution to the world at large has been - his own opinion is that the answer is the English language; a combination of Roman and Anglo Saxon has given English a lexicon of over 500,000 words. (Possibly approaching a million according to some sources) Research at our local university has shown that is possible to estimate a life span for words. The English language is constantly changing and developing and including words from other cultures, reacting to new technologies etc May be Boris Johnson (our current Mayor of London and the only one that is elected by the people), was right?

And while we are mentioning language we should not forget that April 23rd is also the birth date of the bard; William Shakespeare (and the date of his death too) He certainly made good use of the English language……

I have never seen a faience representation of a St George but we do have some Saints in our collection:
Pictured here are St Corentin, St Yves, St Cornelly and in terracotta St Therese of the Flowers (from Liseux)……..

PS. The upcoming Journal will feature an article by Antoine Maigne about his new book Terres Sacrees , he explains how the book came to be written and how some of his research meant that some pieces were re assessed.

PPS. Earlier in the blog I mentioned the Queen, it was her birthday earlier in the week and the perennial question of whether or not she would ever step down and allow Prince Charles to become King was once more a topic in the newspapers. When the Queen took her vows at the Coronation she looked upon it as for life, as long as she stays in good health I can’t really see her abdicating. (She is a great believer in homeopathy; it seems to be doing something for her!) Also Prince Philip has recently become the longest serving consort; he doesn’t get a good press here but without him today’s Royal family would be even more archaic than it is. A life of constantly being 3 steps behind cannot have been easy.

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