Alan Edwards ruminates on the global warming advantages of celebrating our national saints’ days in the spring
It is surely proof of the now sadly unfashionable Victorian belief that these islands are singularly blessed that three of our four patron saints have their feast days in the Spring.
With the welcome prospect of global warming bringing us a Mediterranean climate, Spring-time celebrations for David, Patrick and George could, in future, assume a continental ambience as March and April sees the mercury soaring. Stand by, or stagger by, for Frinton-en-fête with hibiscus-decked wheelchairs flying St George’s flag. Kidwelly clog dancers will make carnival for Dewi Sant without the need for galoshes. Also, horrible prospect at first sight, a dry St Patrick’s Day.
Only Scotland loses out, having to celebrate St Andrew in a winter that will be colder as melting ice drifts south. Tough haggis, Jock, but as you run the government and the BBC, you can’t win them all.
Although the English are slow as yet (or too shy) to celebrate St George vigorously, the Celts may feel that their celebrations are good enough already. If the USA pays homage to the Irish by holding New York’s grandest parade on St Patrick’s Day and by turning the Chicago River green, what more do you want?
‘Chwarae teg,’ the Welsh have begun to grasp the idea of modernizing patron saint’s days. Taffy now wears a rugby jersey for St David’s Day school photos and in the pub. A good start. Gavin and Charlotte are not yet Becks and Posh but Gavin’s haircut is promising.
While many Welsh girls still honour St David by sporting old fashioned hats and shawls on March 1, The South Wales Guardian reports that lasses in Ystradgynlais (Rowan’s birthplace) wore belly dancing outfits at a recent festival. Wear them for St David girls: Islam is very twenty-first century. Although wearing rugby shirts is an attempt to be modern, beach volley ball would be more sensible as the temperature rises. Red bikinis for Megan and Myfanwy. Move the National Stadium to Pendine Sands.
There is a problem with David himself. ‘Dave’ or just ‘D’ would be more street cred. Also, he did not master Celtic spirituality, preferring to wander around preaching. Still he’s got one thing going for him, he only drank water. Problem sorted. All future portrayals should show him swigging Volvic from a plastic bottle.
The Irish were on the right lines when they put Glen Daley’s ‘Hail Glorious St Patrick’ at No.1 in the Irish Hit Parade back in 1962. Of course, they are best known nowadays for Riverdance, but while all that hopping on the spot is OK for warming you up in Ireland’s present cool climate, when it’s heatwave time it’s got to be salsa. ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ and ‘The Sash’ easily adapt to a salsa beat. A Strictly Come Dancing contest between Fr Ted and Ian Paisley could decide who partners Madonna when she becomes the Rose of Tralee.
Luckily the hitherto feeble attempts by the English to celebrate St George have normally taken place out of doors. Although they didn’t realize it, Morris men and the now totally non-PC Maypole dancers, were hopping towards European-style al fresco celebrations. The recent fashion for St George’s Cross waving soccer and cricket fans to go bare-chested shows how easily such folk could become Med men.
Hang on, isn’t it received liberal opinion that St George’s Cross offends ethnic minorities? Keep up to date. Are we forgetting that the fashionable historical view is that St George was a Turk? If being English is an offence in itself, what could be more twenty-first century and multi-cultural than an English patron saint who wasn’t English? If we think Turkish we certainly don’t think racist roast beef, we think kebabs.
So, Morris dancing out, belly dancing in, and ‘Cry Allah for England, kebabs and St George.’