Great Britain? It’s not bad…

Britain is very patriotic this year, what with the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee. You can’t move for red white and blue right now, and everyone seems more proud than ever to be British.

It was with this in mind that I allowed myself to be persuaded to attend the Saint George’s Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square today.

St George's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, 21st April 2012

I’ll admit that I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy myself. When I had gone down to Trafalgar Square for Chinese New Year it had been very crowded and uncomfortable, and I basically ran away (well, shuffled – it was impossible to run anywhere). However, what I found today was very different. The Saint George’s Day celebrations weren’t very well advertised, and so it wasn’t hugely crowded down at Trafalgar Square. The space did fill it, but it never became impossible to move, and I always felt like I had enough space.

My friend and I were met with a very quaint, English country garden atmosphere, complete with temporary flowers, fake grass, and plastic ducks and swans swimming in the fountains.

St George's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, 21st April 2012

The event consisted of music…

Robbie Boyd Band

Robbie Boyd Band

Pearly Kings and Queens…

Brick Lane Music Hall

Brick Lane Music Hall

Living statues…

St George's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, 21st April 2012

Flower arrangements…

St George's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, 21st April 2012

And, of course, tea and scones…

St George's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, 21st April 2012

I almost forgot I was in central London while I was in the tea tent, as it felt very Sussex-y, like I was in some country park somewhere.

I really enjoyed the music, especially ZeTrio:

And the Robbie Boyd Band:

The music hall performances from the Brick Lane Music Hall were fun, too.

The whole event got me thinking about how patriotic (or not) we Brit’s are. There was a smattering of red and white flag-clad, Stella-swilling football fans, and a few people dressed in red and white getting pretty into it, like these sweet ladies who let me take their picture:

St George's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, 21st April 2012

Thanks ladies!

But overall it wasn’t too nationalistic. However, whenever there’s a chance to be proud to be British, there is always this slight feeling that “British pride = not open to other cultures”, which simply shouldn’t be the case. As a Londoner, I feel privileged to be able to enjoy the St George’s Day celebrations just as much as the Chinese New Year, Japanese Matsuri, or any other festival.

I’m no royalist or nationalist, but I did really enjoy indulging in a little British culture today. It’s so easy to forget where you come from when you live in such a multicultural city. I spend so much of my time submerged in Japanese culture, even though I live in England, that I sometimes forget to enjoy my own country’s culture.

I think the Londoners and Brits at the event enjoyed it, and I do hope the tourists and people from other countries also enjoyed the taste of British culture displayed in London today. I’ve realised that British culture is perhaps not as sophisticated or mystical as some other cultures, but we certainly do know how to have a good knees up! πŸ˜‰

St George's Day celebrations at Trafalgar Square, 21st April 2012

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2 Comments on “Great Britain? It’s not bad…”

  1. Liz says:

    Brits get much more het up about being patriotic than other nationalities do. I think it’s a hangover from the days of empire – thinking that we’ll appear imperialist snobs if we say anything good about Britain. Plus, Brits are generally quite self-critical anyway – it’s part of our humour, and we like a good old moan about everything too. But I’m unashamed to say that I love Britain, and even with all its faults, think it’s one of the best places to live in the world πŸ™‚


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