China's National Day
This is my first National Day holiday that I will experience in China. By all accounts it will be celebrated with fervour by most Chinese people – as you would expect.
Around the world, as globalisation becomes an ever stronger reality and barriers between countries continue to fall, nevertheless there is a strong feeling of belonging by people of almost all races and nationalities.
The French go wild on July 14th – with fireworks across the country celebrating the fall of the Bastille over 200 years ago. America’s celebrations on July 4th are even more impressive. In Saudi Arabia on September 23rd the population spray-paint their cars green, they dance in the street and in some of the more liberal cities women are even seen out with their men folk.
But in my home country – the United Kingdom – there is no national holiday. It has a number of days of celebration which go largely uncelebrated, and some of the constituent countries of the UK celebrate their own days… St Andrew's Day in Scotland, St Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland and St David's Day in Wales, for instance.
But ask the average Englishman the date of his national day and the likelihood is that he will not know. (It’s actually April 23rd – St George’s Day).
At present, the Queen's Official Birthday is marked as a de facto national day by British diplomatic missions overseas but not in the UK itself.
So I am a self-confessed fan of national days, and am greatly looking forward to the celebrations in Beijing that will undoubtedly impress.