Oxford College Skips St. George’s Day Dinner to Celebrate Islamic Holiday Instead

A light installation of a dragon breathes fire onto St. George in an illuminated sculpture in the Festival of Light, featuring themes of myths and legends from across the world, at Longleat House, Wiltshire. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
Getty Images

An Oxford college has been accused of trying to “cancel” a dinner in honour of the Christian patron saint of England in favour of an Islamic holiday.

This year, Magdalen College, a 15th-century constituent college of the University of Oxford, will not hold a dinner on April 23rd to celebrate the feast day of St George, the Christian patron saint of England.

Instead, according to London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, Magdalen will hold a formal dinner to mark the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr — the official end of the holy month of Ramadan — despite the festival day actually coming two days earlier on the 21st.

In an email sent out to students obtained by the broadsheet, the vice president of the college, Professor Nick Stargardt invited students and guests to “celebrate Eid with a festive dinner in the Hall,” and said that “the meal will follow Muslim customs: the meat dish will be halal and no alcohol will be served”.

The college has denied that it had an annual tradition of having a dinner to mark St George’s Day, which, unlike Eid, actually falls on the 23rd of this year. However, the Telegraph claimed to have seen evidence of the dinner being held in at least each of the four years preceding the Chinese coronavirus crisis.

Magdalen was accused of attempting to “cancel” the Christian holiday, including a don at the college speaking on condition of anonymity, who said: “The cancelling of St George’s Day is yet another example of the deep antipathy that the leaders of so many of Britain’s academic institutions seem to feel towards the country that built and maintains them.”

Professor Robert Tombs of Cambridge University added: “It’s a good idea to celebrate Eid, especially on the right day. But the idea that one celebration should replace another and that some celebrations are worthy of being continued and others should be stopped is troubling.

“Especially the idea that an English celebration somehow is not acceptable, is worrying in an English college at an English university.”

A spokesman for Magdalen College said that the school still intends to fly the flag of St George on the feast day, claiming that “the College celebrates all the major Christian festivals and saints’ days”.

The Oxford college has a history of indulging in woke purges, with students voting in 2021 to take down a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, under the guise that she represented “recent colonial history”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.