Today's Weather for Cliftonville

Monday, 23 April 2007

Saint WHO?

Yes it's April 23rd once again! The flags are flying proudly from every public building, bunting flutters the length of each wall and gateway, morris dancers strut their stuff on village greens the realm over and millions of children, freed from the drudgery of the classroom for one day, raise their eyes to the sky to watch the annual celebratory flypast of pigs.

If ever a day was tailor-made for a celebration of all things English it was today. April 23rd. As if being St. George's Day was not reason enough for a celebration, a Mrs. Mary Shakespeare of Stratford Upon Avon thoughtfully gave added significance to this day by giving birth to her son William, whose very name would become synonymous with the country of his birth.

Years later William himself, as if acknowledging his countrymen's reluctance to enjoy a knees-up without good reason, made one more valiant and selfless effort to remedy the situation, somehow stage-managing his own death so that it, too, would coincide with Saint George's Day on April 23rd 1616, his 52nd birthday!

Three fantastic reasons for the English to celebrate on one day.

And do we? Well yes, of course - why, in Tesco's car park this evening a single patriotic motorist was displaying a limp plastic flag of Saint George.

Or, then again, maybe it was a forgotten remnant of the World Cup.

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