Life in the UK – Cause for celebration?

Why does a nation so filled with great achievements and peoples not celebrate? Why is a national day off simply called a Bank Holiday?

Photo credit: Creative Commons, MikeDixson

Photo credit: Creative Commons, MikeDixson

Though I’ve lived on this small island for many a year now, I’ve taken a long time to understand what is behind this reticence. But my opening sentence gives a hint, for which nation am I talking about? The United Kingdom, after all, is a grouping of nations – the technical terms is, “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

And I suppose the English are most reticent of all to celebrate their patron saint’s day, which is today – St George. For they have been seen as the oppressor. And to be English means to be understated; not to flaunt one’s accomplishments or achievements, lest one is seen as bragging.

But times may be changing, and even Downing Street is today flying St George’s flag, alongside the Union Jack. Celebrations are taking place around the country, including a great feast in Trafalgar Square. Why we don’t have a massive celebration of the Bard today I do not know though – after all, it’s Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

If you’re English, are you reticent to fly St George’s flag or celebrate your Englishness? Why or why not?

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