Wednesday, 27 April 2016

celebration day

My outfit for a Saturday night
I love St. George's Day: 23rd April. I love the fact that in a recent years high streets have become restricted to pedestrians as street parties are held.  I love that it coincides with Shakespeare's birthday so the nation is treated to a week long Look at England Fest.

Down my neck of the woods I will be able to stroll in the middle of the street under banners and bunting whilst shopkeepers and public houses do their best to create a sense of community and yesteryear, where this sort of this used to happen all the time it seems (look in a history book - there's always a street party going on!).

But it wasn't so big a deal when I was a kid. Unlike St David's Day which brought out the daffodils in our dinner ladies' button holes. Or St Patrick's Day which would see me cavorting around the streets of Kentish Town after university lectures with all my many Irish friends and taking my turn at singing a shutty-eye ballad after a few Guinness. St George's Day in the 80s seem to pass the majority of the country by without the batting of any eyelids. And as for Shakespeare...who he?

So yes I love it that there's historical, dramatical, fantastical stuff in books, the radio, and the telly about both events; St George, Shakespeare at 400 and oh look the Queen has gawn in and chucked her 90th celebrations in too. Cue a middle England combustion in sheer BBC exhilaration.

I used to be a bit reticent sharing my love of St George because of the whole flag waving thing which had always sat uncomfortably with me; as a black British child of the 70s there wasn't a lot of calling for me to join groups of marching people carrying the St George Cross. But then two things happened to change that.

 Firstly, I had created a quick starter activity on the history of St George for an English lesson and it sparked such diverse questions (like why is the saint of England if he was born in Turkey?!), discussion and theorizing about modern day 'saints' that it became a regular feature over the years (as did lessons on the other British Isles saints). I became a bit of a buff and enjoyed the mini diversion before settling back into the curriculum.

Second, having three kids who have an English heritage through their father's family. If they wanna wave a flag - know the history first , then make your choice to wave if you like.

On St George's Day we usually enjoy a good ole English roast or bag of fish n' chips (the choice usually denotes my energy levels) followed by the kids' fave of Eton Mess (or Rotten Mess as my youngest thought it was called).

Oh and another reason I love April 23rd. It's also my birthday. *Raises a glass to another year*