People in England are more likely to know the date of St Patrick’s Day and the US Independence Day than that of their own patron saint, St George.
They’re also far more likely to take time off work to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Thousands of people take part in St Patrick’s Day marches in England, whereas St George’s Day is largely overlooked.
Despite St George being the patron saint of England, only 40% of English people polled knew that his national day was celebrated on 23rd April, according to a study by public opinion researchers ICM.
Nearly three quarters knew that Independence Day was on July 4th while 42% correctly named March 17th as St Patrick’s Day.
There is a belief that English people are nervous about celebrating St George’s Day because they believe it could isolate non English citizens. Some go so far as to say that symbols such as the St George’s flag could be viewed as racist.
Two thirds of people believed that the English were more likely to celebrate St Patrick’s Day than St George’s Day. Meanwhile 76% said they would like St George’s Day to be celebrated at least as much as St Patrick’s Day.
Many people blamed politicians for not doing enough to promote St George’s Day and make people feel proud to be English. A key concern for 41% of people is that there isn’t a bank holiday to celebrate St George’s Day.
Meanwhile, 61% believe that the flag of St George isn’t flown widely enough across England. Perhaps if the flag was more prominent in everyday life the English would be less inclined to associate it with far right racist groups.
Sunder Katwala, director of British Future told the Daily English Telegraph: “It’s a bit baffling that people in England will happily enjoy a pint of Guinness on St Patrick’s Day but then get nervous about celebrating St George’s Day too. We need to get over it and celebrate Englishness more.
“There’s clearly an appetite for bringing Englishness out of the stadium and into our everyday lives – but politicians have been very wary of engaging with it. It’s time they joined this national conversation. People think a Bank Holiday and flying more St George’s flags would help and it’s hard to see why anyone would disagree.”