St Georges Day -23 April 2023
Here’s what you might not know about St. George’s Day:
Take a close look at the English flag. That red cross over a white background has meaning. It’s St. George’s Cross — a symbol so closely intertwined with English national identity that St. George has his national holiday.
The legend of Saint George and the Dragon describes the saint taming and slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices. We celebrate St. George’s Day on April 23 — the anniversary of his death in 303 AD.
The patron saint of England has captivated British imaginations since the Crusades and the Hundred Years’ War. Perhaps the most British of all holidays, this special day is a chance to let your English flag fly, literally and figuratively.
HISTORY OF ST. GEORGE’S DAY
Immerse yourself in the grand tale of the knight, St. George, and his unforgettable battle against a dragon. St. George is the patron saint of England and his symbol is a red cross over a white backdrop — the same red cross incorporated into the flag of England. His emblem was brought to England by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century and was worn by the king’s soldiers in battles.
St. George was born in what is present-day Turkey. Following his father’s steps, he became a soldier and quickly rose in the ranks of the Roman army, ending up as a personal guard to Emperor Diocletian. When the emperor ordered the persecution of Christians, St. George refused to follow his orders and participate in this. He was tortured and executed in 303 A.D. in Palestine, where he is now buried.
The story of St. George slaying a dragon is well-known. The town of Silene was captured by a dragon. The locals would offer a human sacrifice to the dragon every day. When St. George was visiting the town, a princess was chosen to be sacrificed. So he killed the dragon and saved the people of Silene. To express their gratitude, the locals converted to Christianity.
St. George’s Day celebrations were on par with Christmas once. But the excitement waned towards the end of the 18th century when England unified with Scotland on May 1, 1707. The holiday has gained traction in recent years, with campaigns and petitions to make the day a public holiday in England. St. George is also the patron saint of other countries like Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, and Russia. Apart from St. George’s Day, several other holidays are devoted to him, including April 23 and a few in November and December.