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St George’s Day Facts and Symbolism

Posted on 30th March 2016
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St George’s Day Facts and Symbolism

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St George's Day in England honours the memory of St George, England's patron saint. The anniversary of his death, which is on April 23, is seen as England's national day. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess both deeds of valour. Although not a public holiday, many observe St George's Day throughout the UK with school dress-up days, parades and lots of costume parties for young and old alike.

Celebration of St George's Day

St George's Day used to be a national holiday in England but this was withdrawn and it’s now simply an observance day celebrated with parades, dancing and other activities. Flags with the image of St George's cross are flown on some buildings, most especially pubs, and a few people choose to wear a red rose on their lapel. The hymn 'Jerusalem' is also a favourite and is featured in lots of church services taking place nearest to April 23rd.

About St George

St George costume by Widmann 4449a available in all sizes from Karnival Costumes There are many legends surrounding the life of St George, but most have settled on him being born sometime around the year 280 in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming a personal guard to the Emperor Diocletian. He was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303, and is buried in Israel.
 
His heroic exploit in slaying the dragon relates to the story of Silene a village where its water well was guarded by a dragon. To get water the inhabitants of the town had to make a human sacrifice the dragon. When St George was visiting, a princess had been selected to be sacrificed, however he killed the dragon, saved the princess and gave the people of Silene access to water. In gratitude, they converted to Christianity.
 
And, St George is not only recognised in England, he is also the patron saint of a number of other places, such as Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Portugal and Russia. As a consequence, around the world a number of different days are devoted to St George, including April 23 as well as dates in November and December of the Gregorian calendar.

Symbols

The most widely recognized symbol of St George's Day is St George's cross. This is a red cross on a white background, which is often displayed as England's national flag, as well as forming part of the Union Flag (incorrectly referred to as the Union Jack), the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Saint George's cross was originally the flag of the maritime Republic of Genoa. Around 1190, the King of England started paying the Doge of Genoa to protect ships originally from the city of London and the rest of England that sailed in the Mediterranean.
 
As well as the English knights who used the St George's cross as part of their uniform, it has been adopted as a national symbol by fans of the English national football, rugby and cricket teams. At international matches, flags and scarves bearing this cross are worn and people paint it on their faces and outside of the sporting arena it is most often seen on St George’s Day. If you’re planning any celebration of St George’s Day this April, there are plenty of fancy dress and Crusader costumes, St George's Day party goods as well as decorations all of which include the Cross of St George and this is in addition to a collection of St George flags and bunting. So don’t miss out, stock up early.
 
 
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