Saturday, April 22, 2006

Snakes and Dragons

Leadenhall market in the City of London was patriotically decorated to mark St George’s Day. Adorned with red and white bunting, the place resembled Omagh town centre on All-Ireland final day. Incidentally, rumour has it that the Tyrone bunting was borrowed from the local Orange hall, with the blue bits removed.
There’s been a concerted attempt recently to bring St. George’s day back to the English national consciousness. It mostly takes the form of pubs offering discount on pints of Bombardier. A better idea would be to make it a bank holiday.

By the way, what is it with patron saints and scaly reptiles?
St Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, St George killed a dragon. There are two fundamental flaws here: (a) there never were any snakes in Ireland in the first place; (b) dragons don't exist (but maybe the cryptozoologists can prove me wrong here - see archives for 24th March)unless it was the giant lizard species from Indonesia known as the Komodo dragon, but I very much doubt that St. George got that far in his travels.
The funny thing is that St. Patrick was actually doing the snakes a favour. When he drove them into the sea, they swam across to England and two of them made very successful comedy series as Monty Python and Black Adder.


Lorainne said...

There never were any snakes in Ireland because it became separated from the main European continent at the end of the Ice Age and England Scotland and Wales remained attached for longer. It is most likely that the story about St Patrick (who I think was actually a Welshman) driving the snakes from Ireland is symbolic of him bringing Christianity to Ireland as serpants were a common druid symbol. I completely agree that England should celebrate St Georges Day as a national holiday - we should generally have more national holidays, saints days etc as spending the day drinking is far preferable to going to work.

Caroline said...

Back in the good ol days... it wasn't uncommon for the orange order and the hibs to borrow each others instruments for band parades either... then in came all this sectarian nonsense. Looks like some of the evil snuck back in while Paddy had his back turned.

Dragons may have existed who knows... just perhaps not any more at the rate that things become extinct naturally or by the doings of Man the Omniscient or even St George.... although... isn't the dragon something to do with Welsh Wales?

Mark said...

I've noticed there's a growing groundswell that the English should actually get a new patron saint, seeing how George was a) not English, and b) a bit of a con artist really.

Lorainne said...

Mark - the royal family are not English and we still keep them for some reason. Actually half the people living in England are not completely English by ancestry so perhaps St George is a good representation.

CW said...

But then St. Patrick wasn't Irish -and neither was Ireland's other patron saint Jack Charlton, and no-one's complaining!