HAPPY St GEORGE'S DAY
I blogged about St George on this day last year and, if you're curious, it's maybe worth a look!
As for St George's Day, this was - from the early 15th century onwards - a major feast day in England, second only in importance to that of Christmas. Although no longer celebrated with the same fervour as in days of yore, there are those who'd like to see it revived and even made the subject of a public holiday.
If you fancy helping this process along, things you really ought to do today include wearing a red rose, flying the St George's Cross and singing 'Jerusalem'!
If you want know more about St George's Day in England (and in other parts of Europe where this generous saint has extended his patronage) you'll find a handy introduction here.
So, whatever DRAGONS you may have to engage with today, I wish you VICTORY!
Of course, as Buttons discovered, today is also the 444th birthday of William Shakespeare.
The photograph of St George in act of despatching the dragon is from a stained glass window in The Magic Barn, Massachusetts, USA, and was taken by Mandy Davis aka Diva of Deception. You'll find another of Mandy's photos from this curious location on my blog, Window Gazing: just one over 240 images in a gallery dedicated to looking at, into, or out of windows...
Image © Mandy Davis, 2008
UPDATE: 23 April 2008, 09.50 am
The Prime Minister has, apparently, suggested that all public buildings with two flagpoles should fly the English flag alongside the Union Jack.
And English Heritage have devoted a lot of its web-site to the celebration of England's National Day including countrywide events (although if you click on 'London' you get the rather pathetic result: "Sorry there are no St George’s Day events in London"), 'Dragon Trails' for the kids and a poll in which readers can vote for St George or the Dragon!
English Heritage have also commissioned an ode from the brilliant Brian Patten which re-tells the legend of St George with an eye to 21st century ecological thinking and concerns about the protection of endangered species - as well as with a couple tips of the literary cap to Keats and, naturally, Shakespeare:
THE TRUE DRAGON
St George was out walking
He met a dragon on a hill,
It was wise and wonderful
Too glorious to kill
It slept amongst the wild thyme
Where the oxlips and violets grow
Its skin was a luminous fire
That made the English landscape glow
Its tears were England’s crystal rivers
Its breath the mist on England’s moors
Its larder was England’s orchards,
Its house was without doors
St George was in awe of it
It was a thing apart
He hid the sleeping dragon
Inside every English heart
So on this day let’s celebrate
England’s valleys full of light,
The green fire of the landscape
Lakes shivering with delight
Let’s celebrate St George’s Day,
The dragon in repose;
The brilliant lark ascending,
The yew, the oak, the rose