Tuesday, 23 April 2013
The legend of St. George belongs to England. I remember standing under a statue of him when I first came to London as a child, admiring the dashing knight in armour on his rearing horse, poised to slay the fierce, curly-tailed dragon that was snarling at his feet.
It was years later that I discovered that St. George belongs to many other countries as well, including Catalonia, a region proud of its Celtic cultural roots, where his feast day's known as La Diada de Sant Jordi.
Borough Market is London's oldest market specialising in food and drink. There was Catalan produce for sale there today and visitors from Catalonia handed out red roses to the shoppers.
It was a wonderful demonstration of how new traditions can be sparked by older ones, and of how the same legend can be common to more than one culture. And for me there were even echoes of this year's Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh in Ballyferriter, when Galician piper Anxo Lorenzo marched through the village celebrating the links between Corca Dhuibhne and Galicia's shared Celtic inheritance.
But some things remained quintessentially English.