On Patron Saints

St. Patricks Day, 020315, GD
Commentary by British Radio Show Host Ed Boyle.

What a shame you haven't got a proper patron Saint to help you celebrate. But here in England we have, and today it's his festival. We'll all be slapping each other on the back and saying: Happy St George's Day. Actually we won't. Because nobody has the foggiest idea who poor old George was, why he was made a Saint or what he's meant to represent.

An opinion poll here reports that most young people think St George is a pub or a bar. We used to get a day off to celebrate him.... but that was back in the year 1222.

So here's a bit of history. St George was a soldier. A Christian crusader. A bit of swashbuckler. He bumped into a poison breathing dragon in Libya about 1,600 years ago and killed the thing with one blow of his sword. Now dragons in Libya? Well, nothing changes. But George reckoned he was onto a winner. He kept bumping into dragons all over the place. He famously claims to have killed a dragon at a place called Uffington in Berkshire, about fifty miles from where I'm sitting.

Of course there aren't any dragons in Uffington and never were, but St. George's fans insist that's because George got rid of them. Noone believes a word of it.

But in your country, once a year, you borrow St Patrick. Fair enough. Big hearted chap St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland And its a grand excuse for anyone who is genuinely Irish, or once shook hands with an Irishman, to wear the green, raise a glass and celebrate the Feast of a man who allegedly rid Ireland of all its snakes. Well, probably not all of them, but at least St Patrick wouldn't expect to be taken seriously as a snake exterminator. And he's got an advantage. Ireland only has Patrick. England is part of Britain so we've got a seperate Saint for Wales, St David, and another one for Scotland, St Andrew. Frankly we've got serious patron saint overdose.

So if you've got a problem with dragons or you just want to borrow St George for the day, go right ahead. Be my guest. We don't seem to want him.