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Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Matt Harrison, Apr 22, 2004.
Just wanna say Have a good day tomorrow, It is St. George's Day.
I'm a nice guy, but I'm not exactly a saint. But thanks for the thought anyway.
And who is this St. George when he's at home?
Patron saint of England (Wales has St David, Scotland St Andrew and Ireland St Patrick).
From memory: it's reasonably certain that St George was a Christian martyr who was high up in the Roman army and tortured then killed by the Emperor Diacletian.
Numerous myths were later attached to his character. The best known is the one about the dragon. A village was being terrorised by a dragon. Having run out of feeding the beast sheep, the villagers had started offering human sacrifices (members of the village chosen by lots). On the day that the local princess had been chosen along comes St George who kills the dragon (in a fuller version of the story, he wounds the dragon, rescues the princess, uses the princess's girdle - the name for a decorative belt in those days, in case you're wondering - as a muzzle and leads the dragon back to the village where he executes it). The image of St George and the dragon is one of the symbols of England (often used on old coins, for example) and was a popular subject in Rennaissance painting.
The origin of the dragon story is probably a symbolic one - the village represents humanity and the dragon Satan. Thus, St George, through Christian faith, rescues the world from perdition. It has been plausibly suggested that this originally derived from a Christianisation of the Perseus myth of the ancient Greeks, and a misinterpretation by British and French crusaders led to the St George and the dragon legend being taken as literal rather than symbolic truth.
Another tale is that the legend of St George was promoted by a bishop George who, following a period as (unbelievably dishonest) supplier of bacon to the Roman army, set up an heretical Christian sect (again, crooked and decidedly un-Christian in behaviour), and used an embellished myth about St George in what was in effect a PR campaign.
Be that as it may, St George became popular with Crusaders, and eventually became patron saint of England in (I think) the 14th century, supplanting St Edward. St George is patron saint of other places, including Georgia in the former USSR (indeed, 'Georgia' is named after St George). He was also for a time patron saint of Portugal (though I believe Portugal now has the Virgin Mary as patron saint).
Andrew, is St. George's Day actually celebrated in the UK? I know they burn Guy Fawkes in effigy on his day.
I'm still embarrassed to find out that St. Denis is the patron saint of Paris.
And to Andrew’s information, I’d add that the flag of England (white background and a red cross that bisects both the horizontal and vertical) is named the Cross of St. George
Lew, you only got part of that right. There's also the cross of St. Andrew in the union jack.
St George's Day hasn't been celebrated by the great Brit public in general in well over a hundred years. There are no doubt isolated events. E.g. various morris dancers (traditional country dancers - nearly always grown men in beards who wave handkerchiefs in the air and who frankly are old enough to know better) will no doubt dance and get their pictures in local newspapers, and flags will be flown on public buildings in England that have a cross of St George flag. However, it isn't really a big deal. There's a bit more fuss made over St David's day in Wales, but it's not a v. big deal here, either.
Guy Fawke's day isn't really Guy Fawke's day as such - it celebrates the anniversary of the day a group of plotters was found trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament (the idea was to restore a Roman Catholic to the throne). Curiously enough, Guido ('Guy' in anglicised form) Fawkes wasn't the leader of the conspiracy, but as he was the most obvious 'foreigner' his name has been remembered. The idea of the event is to burn an effigy of GF to commemorate the saving of the nation. Some staunch catholics still refuse to participate because they say it's an anti-catholic celebration (though I seriously doubt if these days over five per cent of the country knows the origins of Guy Fawke's day in sufficient depth even to know about the religious element).
Thanks for the info, Andrew.
The legend you describe immediately reminded me of CLASH OF THE TITANS. :b
That is why I specified the Flag of England, not the Union Jack, which is the flag of Great Britain (that also has the Cross of St. Patrick as a component).
The Cross of St. Andrew is a diagonal white cross on a blue background and the Cross of St. Patrick is a red diagonal on a white background.
So the Union Jack has a blue background with a diagonal white cross (the Cross of St. Andrew), a red cross inside of the white diagonals (Cross of St. Patrick) and finally (or perhaps first) a vertical/horizontal red cross inside of a white one (giving the red on white background of the Cross of St. George).
You see the Flag of England often waved at sporting events where England, not Great Britain) is the national side. For example it was England, not Great Britain that won the recent Rugby World Cup, just as it was England that did not win either the Cricket World Cup or the most recent (real) World Cup.
Strangely, Great Britain is the national team in the Olympics. Why this is different than football, soccer or cricket I don’t know. Perhaps Andrew can enlighten us.
No bashing a country on its national day.
That aint right, I hope you have had a gud day.
Cheers from a very drunk Englishman.
Different reasons in each case.
Cricket: is played at a professional level only in England and one county (Glamorgan) in Wales. Thus, the 'England' side is English in the strict sense of the word (though I believe in this instance Glamorgan players are counted as 'honorary English'). There are Scottish, Welsh and Irish sides, but these are made up of amateurs rather than professionals and aren't major teams in world cricket.
Soccer: at various times a Great Britain side has been suggested, but one nation (typically Scotland) has always objected as they want to retain their national identity. This is a little odd, as a combined all-UK side would be pretty unbeatable. However, the individual countries are good (witness England) but not necessarily outstanding (witness England).
Rugby: for rugby *union*, actually, there is a Great Britain side, called the British Lions, and on occasions they have held international matches. There is also a side called The Barbarians which is also cross-UK (I *think* - can a rugby union fan elucidate?). For most purposes, however, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland play separately (incidentally, the Ireland Rugby Union side is made up of players from Eire and Northern Ireland). Satan will skate to work before you see the Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish teams amalgamate into one, however, as each is fiercely independent. The national rugby *league* side is called 'Great Britain' which is *really* ironic, as rugby league is only played in England (and largely in the north of England at that).
Fawkes real family name was, I believe, Faux him being of French descent. And even in those days already it was much simpler to blame the French for anything foul like a conspiracy, especially when the name is forecasting.
I once heard the difference between soccer and football described as: soccer is a gentle game for ruffians, while rugby is a rough game for gentlemen.
And - by George - does the emphasis lie on rough!