St. George’s Day
by Shane Foster
This coming Sunday, 23rd of April, is a key date in the English calendar as we celebrate St. George’s Day, or to give it the correct title the ‘feast day of Saint George’.
Of course we are not the only country to celebrate St. Georges Day, since he is not only the Patron Saint of England. His death on 23rd April is celebrated in many other countries, including Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and Romania, as well as a number of cities and regions in Spain, including Catalonia.
Given that his feast day is celebrated in multiple countries it adds confirmation to the fact that St. George wasn’t actually English, in fact he never even visited England. He was actually born in Cappadocia, a region of modern day Turkey. Whilst little is known of when he was born, other than sometime in the 3rd century AD, we do know that his death occurred in April in the year 303.
St. George was believed to be an officer in the Roman Army, and not the chivalrous knight on horseback as we depict him in modern times. It is also said that he resigned his post in protest of the roman emperor at the time, which then led to him being beheaded.
The most famous legend attributed to St. George is the depiction of him slaying a dragon, which was not mentioned until sometime in the 12th century. Since this was not connected to him until long after his death, it is widely believed that this, along with many other stories about him, is completely fictitious.
Indeed, the red cross on a white background which was known as St. George’s emblem was also adopted and brought to England in the 12th century, by Richard the Lionheart and was then worn by the King’s soldiers when in battle.
As well as being the Patron Saint of England and many other countries, he is also the Patron Saint of Scouting, and on the Sunday nearest to his feast day (which actually falls on Sunday this year) the Scouts and Guides are often seen parading through the streets of England in recognition of St. Geroge’s Day.
There are of course many parades held across England in modern times to celebrate his feast day, and these have grown more popular in recent years as a symbol of pride. In some parts of the country it is celebrated with other good old traditions, such as morris dancing, punch and judy shows, or just enjoying traditional English fare, such as fish and chips or a roast dinner.
Of course there is one notable famous English person to also die on 23rd April, and his works are also celebrated on the same day - the renowned playwright William Shakespear!
Whatever your plans for this coming St. George’s Day, let's hope it is a fine sunny day. And if you are planning to head out and celebrate, don’t forget to ensure you have the perfect outfit - so why not check out our latest offers, just click here.
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