St. George’s Day (23rd April) is nearly here again – a time to celebrate England’s culture and identity. On the day there will be many celebrations and services planned to mark this special event. Last year there was a St. George’s Day parade organised by the Basingstoke East District Scouts. Everyone had a fabulous time.
But perhaps St. George’s Day would be even better if it was made a public holiday?
Consider St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone knows this day is bigger than ever – thousands joining in the Irish celebrations across Britain. It’s even more significant in Northern Ireland where it’s actually marked as a bank holiday, unlike elsewhere in the U.K. The question remains though: why isn’t St. George’s Day a public holiday too?
Indeed, there would be many benefits to doing this.
Bank holidays have been known to give local traders a much needed boost – this is especially true if the weather is fine. Shoppers love to get out in the spring sunshine and spend their hard-earned cash.
Furthermore, if St. George’s Day was declared as a public holiday would it not enhance our sense of patriotism? Having suffered the rigours of a long recession wouldn’t a special focus on our achievements both here and abroad help boost our national pride?
Despite our problems, we English have a lot to be grateful for: beautiful countryside; our enviable heritage; our great reputation for art, science and business innovation that few countries, if any at all, can equal.
So it’s a shame that the use of the red and white flag is often regarded with a little suspicion today. Sadly, it’s often abused by some as they aim to promote religious intolerance and bigotry. Instead of being a powerful symbol of national sovereignty for all English persons, our flag is sometimes used to promote hatred and racism.
Wouldn’t approval of St. George’s Day as a bank holiday help restore the reputation of our national flag for all our citizens? Wouldn’t the unfurling of the red and white enhance a more positive image of English life – as people went out of their way to celebrate intensively with their friends and family on this special public holiday, like the Irish do on St. Patrick’s Day?
Still there remains strong opposition to the idea of making St. George’s Day a public holiday.
A few years ago an economic think tank declared that bank holidays overall cost the economy around 2 billion, approximately. At this moment, England has eight bank holidays in total, Scotland nine and Northern Ireland ten – including St. Patrick’s Day, obviously. As stated, another extra bank holiday for St. George’s Day would undoubtedly lead to a decrease in our nation’s annual output for the U.K economy. So it’s unlikely the idea will be embraced by our English parliament any time soon – especially with the 23rd of April being so close to May Day.
Yet, there’s no denying that making St. George’s Day a public holiday would be a popular decision for the vast majority of English people. What do you think?