The English need to find their own day to celebrate

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By Will Haslam, Third Year Biochemistry

Following Saint Patrick's Day, it is increasingly clear that the English need their own national holiday instead of appropriating this Irish event.

I am annoyed about how the English celebrate Saint Patrick's day.

Before we get into that, I want to preface my snobby condemnation: this is not a criticism of how anyone Irish, half Irish or Irish-ish wants to celebrate their holiday. For it is their holiday.

Why do we English celebrate Saint Patrick's day?

Most of the Bristolian participants are not Irish, have no subsequent interest in Ireland and certainly are not religious enough to celebrate the obscure 5th century Saint with such extravagance.

If you have gone to an Irish pub, that is fine. If you have gone to a Celtic folk gig, brilliant, you have shown real enthusiasm. I fear however that most of our Sunday night revellers spent the evening in the local spoons before moving on to the triangle, trying to pull and dancing to Bohemian Rhapsody.

For most of my non-Irish brethren, Saint Patrick's day is just an excuse for students and vagabonds to get absolutely trollied and slap on a pair of green knickers. Maybe, if Mr Patrick is lucky, one might buy a pint of Guinness in his honour. Before happily returning to pink gin or whatever one usually get sloshed on.

This 'holiday' is utterly devoid of culture for the English.

It is the opposite of culture. It is a chance for cheap lager companies to flog hideous merchandise to idiots, based on the stereotype of our favourite celtic magical midget.

Could we not drink ourselves silly on May Day, or Saint George's day or any day with genuine tradition?

This ironically charmless celebration of absolutely nothing brings up a deeper and even more depressing reality. Are we not a nation of drinkers, have we not paved the way in liver destruction since we could put hops in a pot?

We compete with the very best in disorderly inebriated self-destruction, and yet we cannot find our own reason to have a drinking holiday. You would think that at the expense of thousands of livers, millions of NHS hours and most of my student loan we could rustle together our own tradition.

Perhaps English drinking is so prolific that our ancestors were more hungover than those of our neighbors, and could not find the energy to pick a day? I doubt it.

Saint Patrick's day highlights an embarrassing shortfall in English culture, leading us to lazily nicking a holiday from our neighbours. A holiday, who’s English incarnation, is predicated on perhaps offensive stereotypes of Irish drinking.

You would not celebrate Bastille Day without a Frenchman and you would not celebrate Defender of the Motherland Day without a Russian buddies’ invitation.

Could we not drink ourselves silly on May Day, or Saint George's day or any day with genuine tradition? Are we embarrassed by our own traditions? Or did everyone get together and decide that the bloke who slew the dragon probably was not real, so we had better go with whoever the Irish got.

Worse still, I suspect we did not nick the tradition from the Irish directly but through the US.

This is the ultimate humiliation.

It is unacceptable for a country to grab ancient traditions off of its historical progeny that is 850 years younger!

You would not celebrate Bastille Day without a Frenchman and you would not celebrate Defender of the Motherland Day without a Russian buddies’ invitation.

Can we, as a people, please treat Saint Patrick's day with the same polite reservation and stop pretending it has anything to do with us?

Featured image: Unsplash/Carlos Fox

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