I am English and I am proud of it - so as a nation why don't we do more to celebrate St Georges Day? The Irish really go to town for St Patricks Day, the Welsh celebrate St David's day - my friends little girls go to school in traditional costumes, and the Scots all celebrate St Andrews day - they even have it as an official bank holiday.
How many of us even know it is St George’s day? Certainly as a student if someone said March 17th to me, I immediately thought of St Patricks day (or was that because is heralded a damned good drinking session with all my Irish friends?), April 23rd doesn’t immediately spring to mind as St George’s day and it was only because of Google I even realised. In recent years organisations like the English heritage have been trying to increase support for St Georges Day with organised events and radio and TV are doing more to promote it.
Does everyone even know what St Georges Day is about even? Until I decided to do this post, off the top of my head I could have only given a very sketchy idea of what it is, so here is a little history lesson courtesy of my friends Wikipedia and Google.
Saint George's Day is the feast day of Saint George. It is celebrated by various Christian churches and by the several nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities of which Saint George is the patron saint. Saint George's Day is celebrated on 23 April, the traditionally accepted date of Saint George's death in AD 303. Incidentally the 23rd April is also thought to be date of death and possibly anniversary of birth of William Shakespeare.
Saint George (c. 275/281 – 23 April 303) was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria, Palaetina and a soldier in the Guard of Diocletian. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the dragon and is one of the 14 holy helpers. He is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints as well.
Saint George and the Dragon - is a legend brought back with the Crusaders and retold. The earliest known depiction of the legend is from early eleventh-century; George had been depicted as a soldier since at least the seventh century; the earliest known surviving narrative text is an eleventh-century Georgian text.
The legend goes that a dragon makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of "Silene". Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden must go instead of the sheep. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but there appears Saint George on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess.
If St George is from Syria, why is he the patron Saint of England?
St George's emblem, a red cross on a white background was adopted by Richard the Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century, now forming the national flag of England and incorporated into the Union jack. The king's soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle.
St George was known to be a brave Roman soldier who protested against the Romans' torture of Christians and died for his beliefs. The popularity of St George in England stems from the time of the early Crusades when it is said that the Normans saw him in a vision and were victorious. By the fourteenth century the saint had been declared both the patron saint and the protector of the royal family.
So there you go, a brief history lesson about the patron saint of England. I personally think it is a shame not more is done to celebrate the day and will be telling the boys about him so they can learn a little about their country and culture. I have leant something from just writing this post!