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St George’s Day St George39;s Day 2021 how the dragonslayer became the patron

st georges day, st george’s day, st george


St George’s Day St George’s Day patron St Day 2021: … dragon-slayer George's the the how became

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 20:00:00 +0100

The patron saint day falls in April each year, but how is it celebrated around the world?

The patron saint day falls in April each year, but how is it celebrated around the world?

St George’s Day is today, Apr 23, and across the country people are honouring the patron saint of England by flying English flags and celebrating our heritage.

In light of current Covid restrictions, events involving gatherings have unfortunately been cancelled. But many towns and cities across the country are still marking the occasion by lighting up buildings in white and red, the colours of the English flag.

While St Patrick’s Day, St David’s Day and St Andrew’s Day are all celebrated with patriotic community events, St George’s Day has become less significant over time and has left the nation somewhat confused about how to recognise the day.

But, who was the legendary figure and why is he the nation’s patron saint? From the history behind the dragon-slayer, to the global celebrations, here is everything you need to know about St George’s Day.

St George’s Day, the patron saint day of England, falls each year on April 23 (today). Recognised annually on the anniversary of St George’s death, the day was previously a national holiday and was once celebrated as widely as Christmas.

Since the 18th century, after England and Scotland united in 1707, celebrations have diminished, although some parades and public activities continue to be held every year. However, some of this year’s celebrations will not be able to go ahead in their usual form due to the Covid-19 restrictions. 

Despite being adopted as the patron saint of England, St George wasn’t actually English, and most likely never stepped foot in the country. Born around AD 280, in what is now known as Cappadocia, Turkey, St George was a Christian martyr and became a soldier in the Roman army, later progressing to the role of a personal guard for the Emperor Diocletian.

The emperor was one of the leaders of the Great Persecution of Christians, where churches were destroyed, scriptures were burnt and followers of the religion were prohibited from joining the army and assembling for worship.

But his personal guard, St George, protested against the persecution and remained dedicated to his Christian faith, consequently facing imprisonment and torture. He was later beheaded in Palestine on April 23, AD 303.

His head was taken to, and stored, in the church dedicated to him in Rome, and the rest of his body was buried in Lod, Israel.

His strength, courage and loyalty to his faith soon spread around Europe, and it even inspired his wife, who apparently became Christian, and also faced execution.

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

Legend suggests St George fought a dragon and saved a princess in the town of Silene – although this is most likely a myth.

According to legend, the only well in Silene was guarded by a dragon and each day, residents had to make human sacrifices in order to access the water.

A princess was the next person to be sacrificed and on the day 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.

Even though St George never stepped foot on English soil, he officially became the patron saint of England around 1348, after King Edward III established the Order of the Garter in his name. 

From the 14th Century, St George was regarded as a special protector of the English and following England’s victory at Agincourt in 1415, Archbishop Chichele raised the celebration of St George to a Double Feast.

Shakespeare made sure St George was never forgotten, concluding the Henry V, Act III, speech with ‘Cry God for Harry, England and St George’.

St George’s Cross, which is England’s flag and now forms part of the Union Jack, is the symbol displayed on April 23. Dating back to the year of 1188, crosses were first used by King Henry II of England and King Philip II of France for their crusade symbols.

Despite England adopting a white cross at first, they later switched to a red cross, which was used as part of the uniforms of English soldiers in several battles. Edward I eventually made this symbol a national emblem during his reign.

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.

Unlike some patron saint days, St George’s Day isn’t a bank holiday, meaning transport, schools and businesses operate as normal every year.

However, in 2018, former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, said the patron saint day would become a national holiday under a Labour government. Some people showed their support for this idea, arguing a public holiday would help increase celebrations again.

While St George’s Day celebrations have decreased over time, there are still some parades, music performances and public events held across the country to honour the patron saint.

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.

Fancy a pint? Some pubs are decorated with St George’s cross on April 23, offering people the chance to celebrate together with a few drinks. This year, however, it may be a little difficult to celebrate St George’s Day in this way, as pubs, bars and restaurants will not be able to open for indoor dining and drinking.

But, in line with the rules outlined in Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, groups of up to six people or two households will be able to mark the patron saint day together in pub gardens and outdoor seating areas. 

The hymn of Jerusalem is traditionally sung on the day and Morris Dancers often perform around the country.

The Feast of St George also takes place in Trafalgar Square, London, every year. Last year’s event was unfortunately cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the 2021 event will not go ahead. However, celebrations are expected to resume in 2022.

In Nottingham, the countries largest flag is being flown on Apr 23 across the council town hall, and the building will be lit up in red.

While in Birmingham, a covid-safe motorbike parade will take place this Sunday, Apr 25. The parade will go from Tesco Hall Green to Henley-in-Arden and starts at 6:30 pm. Spectators will be required to socially distance.

Even though celebrations may be minimal in England, St George is also the patron saint of other countries and each nation has their own way of honouring the day.

In Russia, St George’s Day is honoured on May 6, because the Russian Orthodox Church use the Julian Calendar.  In recognition of the patron saint, the black and orange Ribbon of St George is used by civilians as a patriotic symbol.

Albania also celebrate and represent their joy by lighting fires and playing around it while similarly in Croatia, fires are lit on St George’s Day to mark the first day of Spring.

In Catalonia, Spain, a public holiday is held for St George (Sant Jordi), with roses and books exchanged by lovers and in Bulgaria, it is a tradition to roast a whole lamb because St George is the patron saint of shepherds.

In Ethiopia, St George is known as the Patron Saint of Saints and they celebrate on May 1.

In Georgia, St George’s Day, is celebrated on November, 23, and on this day, they recognise the torture St George endured for refusing to make sacrifices to the Roman gods.

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.

April 23, 1968, also marks the date when the first decimal coins, five and 10 pence pieces, were introduced. 

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St George’s Day

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 20:00:00 +0100

His background was about as multicultural as you can get

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Most historians think George was born in modern-day Turkey to a Greek family

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He served in the army of 

Thought George was just the patron saint of England? Think again

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Saint George has become a symbol of nationalism in England, but there are some good reasons to think his life represents the values of a more benign ideology: multiculturalism.

Most historians think George was born in modern-day Turkey to a Greek family. He served in the army of an Italian city-state and ultimately died living in modern-day Palestine. His parents, though Greek-speaking, were from Cappadocia in central Turkey and Palestine respectively.

Saint George’s heritage was about as multicultural as you could get in the classical world.

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George moved country looking for work, probably immigrating from Cappadocia to Palestine to be employed as a palace guard for the emperor Diocletian.

He moved between the provinces of the vast Roman empire in the way a skilled manual worker might travel between the member states of the EU to find better employment.

For centuries the Roman Empire had worshiped its native pagan gods. George came to fame because he spread his foreign, Middle Eastern, religion to western civilization.

He supposedly convinced Empress Alexandra of Rome to adopt the new, expanding religion – Christianity – which spread throughout the empire until it was officially adopted. Most of the empire’s European successor states are still Christian today.

Saint George isn’t just the patron saint of England: He’s the patron saint of Bulgaria, Palestine, Ethiopia, Greece and Lithuania.

He’s also arguably most significantly the patron saint of Georgia, where Saint George’s Day is celebrated twice a year. The country’s name in English was considered by medieval chroniclers to have derived from the saint’s name.

As a tribune in the Roman army, George was fighting for a Europe-wide super-state that famously let its inhabitants keep their local traditions.

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In the imperial capital of Rome there were Britons mixing with Greeks and people from Palestine and Gaul.

As long as loyalty was pledged the emperor, local religious and cultural customs could continue and were incorporated into the empire.

As an immigrant with a foreign religion, Saint George was at the receiving end of discrimination and persecution from the Roman authorities, who were becoming wary of Christianity’s growing power.

While working in his new home the saint was hit by a new law to crack down on Christian soldiers: he was to be arrested and kicked out of the army.

George objected and was imprisoned and tortured and ultimately executed for his foreign ways. He would have benefited greatly from a higher degree of tolerance and multiculturalism.

This article was originally published in April 2016

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– April 22, 2021
St George’s Day St George39;s Day 2021 how the dragonslayer became the patron
st georges day, st george’s day, st george