St George’s Day

Updated: May 24, 2021


  • Did you know that St George is not English?

  • He may never have even BEEN to England.

  • So, why did the English adopt this person to be their patron saint?



St George is the patron saint of England. A Patron saint is defined as being the protecting or guiding saint of a person or place. We celebrate St Georges Day on the 23rd April (the anniversary of his death). This day celebrates all that is English!


Although the celebration of this event dwindled for a number of years, since 2010, things have changed. Trafalgar Square is now the location for a large festival in central London, including discussion of the fountains being dyed red in the future!! There will also be celebrations taking place all over the country!



Today, St George's cross is used frequently at football, rugby and cricket games, with fans wearing scarves, painting their faces and flying flags to show their support for England.


A red rose has also been the national emblem of England since the War of the Roses, 1455-1485, and some people choose to wear this flower on St George's Day.


As well as being the Patron Saint of England, St George is the Patron Saint of Scouting and around April 23, Scouts often hold celebrations such as parades and faith services.


Why St George?

Saint George was born in Turkey and was a soldier in the Roman army. He was Christian and remained dedicated to his faith, in the end suffering imprisonment, torture and finally execution. His strength, courage and loyalty to his faith were well known and respected and these attributes inspired many followers.


As well as his army background and dedication to his faith, St George is also famous for fighting a dragon, which commonly symbolised the Devil during the Middle Ages.


Legend

The only well in Silene was guarded by a fierce dragon and each day, residents had to make human sacrifices in order to access the water. This decision was made by simply drawing lots. One day, a princess drew the short straw and was the chosen sacrifice and just before she was due to be killed, St George bravely fought the dragon to save her. After St George successfully killed the dragon, the people of Silene were finally granted free access to the well, and in gratitude, they turned to Christianity.


And finally.....


April 23 is believed to be the date of birth, and death, of English playwright, Shakespeare, with some celebrations of literature taking place around this day.



For more on English traditions.... check out our other traditions.....

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