National Day holidays celebrated in different countries
Updated: 2013-09-27 11:32
By Mao Jing and Wang Yu (Chinadaily.com.cn)
UK: Unlike many European countries, the United Kingdom has no official national day, although the countries that make up Britain do - Wales marks St. David's Day on March 1, England St. George's Day on April 23, and Scotland St. Andrew's Day on Nov 30, although the Queen's Official Birthday, now as “Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth” is used for this purpose in some contexts. The Queen’s birthday is on April 21, but because of the UK’s bad weather in that month, the British moved the day two months after, which falls on the second Saturday of June. Therefore, the day is treated as the National Day of the United Kingdom in diplomatic missions. The day is marked in London by the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, which is also known as the Queen's Birthday Parade. The list of Birthday Honours is also announced at the time of the Official Birthday celebrations.
A National Day for the UK has been proposed in recent years. Britain Day had been a favorite theme for former president Gordon Brown, who first raised the idea in 2006 when he was the country's Treasury chief, according to The Sun. Brown complained that Britain lacked a day celebrating “who we are and what we stand for”, and pointed to the spirit-building Fourth of July holiday in the United States, and Bastille Day in France.
The main opposition Conservatives, long considered the party of heritage and tradition, rejected the ideas.
British unity has been assailed by increasing cultural assertiveness in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have gained devolved political power over the last decade. Sports fans, too, usually cheer English, Scottish or Welsh - rather than British - national teams. The Olympics is one of the few international competitions in which Britain fields a united team.