St George / St Jordi – a contrast in celebrations

Gaudi's Casa Batllo in Barcelona on St Jordi's day

Whilst I love the English language, I would find it hard to say “I am English and love England”.  I suppose I am typical of many people who live in England, but who would feel awkward about celebrating Englishness. The article in The Week, titled “St George’s Day: why won’t England celebrate?” explains it very well, saying it may be historical (to do with The Protestant Reformation) or because people are concerned that national symbols like the St George’s Cross flag may be interpreted as racist.  St George’s day means little to me, other than to remind me of the time of the year when I might find some St Georges day mushrooms.

Barcelona station on St Jordi's day (St George's Day)

As I mentioned in my first ever blog for The Language List, I am learning Spanish at the moment.  Since then I have discovered Conversation Exchange, and would recommend it to anyone learning a foreign language.  Native English speakers are very much in demand, and I had no trouble in finding two fantastic conversation partners.  We’ve been talking for a couple of months now.

In my last Skype conversation with Javier, he showed me these photographs he’d just taken of the St. Jordi (St George’s) celebrations in Barcelona.  (You see here Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, the Station and a traditional flower stall).   They are beautiful – and the custom of every man giving his lover a rose, and every woman giving her lover a book is lovely.  Javier also showed me a few other depictions of St. Jordi himself, as there are so many in Barcelona.

A stall selling roses in Barcelona, on St Jordi's day (St George's day)

This prompted me to do some research.  On Wikipedia I found out that St George is not uniquely

connected with England – in fact he has no real connection with England at all, other than being its patron saint!  It lists many other countries, regions and cities, for whom St George is also the patron saint.  I wonder if any of their 23rd April celebrations are as picturesque as those in Barcelona?

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