Why don’t many English people celebrate Saint George’s Day?

I can’t say that I’m proud to be English.

This is not a criticism of the country of my birth.

God knows there are enough people in the world queuing to queue at Blighty for one reason or another without me queuing.

I’m quite happy to be born in England and enjoy the way of life here.

Of course, some things annoy and frustrate me, but for me, there are more positives than negatives.

There are plenty of worse places.

But why should I be proud of an accident of birth?

It was no feat on my part that I saw the light of day on a housing estate in Bishops Lydeard, so where is the pride?

Maybe that’s why I won’t go out of my way to celebrate the feast of our patron saint on Saturday.

St. George’s Day, April 23, tends to go by with the minimum of fuss.

Most people know little or nothing more about Georgius other than that he slew a dragon.

The story was brought back by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages.

They claimed that George showed up in a village where the dragon was terrorizing the inhabitants.

The villagers fed him sheep to calm him down.

After the greedy monster taunted the entire woolly population, the king decreed that local children should replace the mutton on the dragon’s menu.

The names of the victims have been drawn.

One day, the king’s daughter discovered that “it could be you” when she was chosen for the creature’s lunch.

Cue George. He saved the day by slaying the dragon with his sword.

Okay, that’s a bit of a big story made up nearly 2,000 years ago.

So who was George?

He was born in Turkey to a Palestinian mother nearly 2,000 years ago.

He also had Persian blood and fought in the Roman army.

The dragon would have sensed it was karma when George met his own violent end.

He was beheaded for his Christian beliefs on April 23, 303.

He was named patron saint of England in 1415.

Coincidentally, April 23 would also be Shakespeare’s birthday – and the date of his death just over 400 years ago.

The bard himself was well aware of the importance of the country’s patron saint when he wrote Henry V’s rousing speech “Once More in the Breach” at the Battle of Agincourt.

The King’s rallying call ‘Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George’ is said to have had the patriotic audience at The Globe theater roaring with delight.

But these days, few English souls will let their hair down and release those stiff upper lips to celebrate their nationality.

The rest of the ‘sceptred’ British Isles would not miss the opportunity to raise their glasses on the days of their nation’s saints.

Speaking of dragons, there’s always a knee in Cardiff on St David’s Day, Edinburgh goes wild on St Andrew’s Day and the Irish party lasts on St Patrick’s Day.

Many English people drink more pints of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day than pints of hot ale on St. George’s Day.

However, for adults, shows of English patriotism are reserved for sporting occasions, especially football.

Maybe we English are just struggling with our identity and feeling a little embarrassed to show pleasure in being who we are.

Returning to our man St George, he created something of an impression on Taunton.

The town has two churches named after him – one Catholic, the other Protestant – a primary school, a residential square and a retirement home named after him.

And the city’s new cathedral (St Mary Magdalene) has a statue of him slaying the dragon outside the building.

Perhaps we could argue that St George’s background somehow reflects modern multicultural England

And St George’s legacy is so varied that England alone cannot claim he is the only country he represents.

We share it with Lithuania, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Georgia, Moscow, Istanbul, Beirut, Palestine and Catalonia.

Whatever the rest of the country feels, the majority of Somerset residents show at least some appreciation for their county.

For several years we held Somerset Day on May 11 and even created a county flag

Maybe it’s because it’s easier to be passionate about something closer to home.

Somerset Day celebrates King Alfred the Great and events are in the works across the county.

What do you think of Saint-Georges? Planning a party?

And will you be doing something special for Somerset Day.

Why not let us know so we can share your stories and photos.